Re: No Fences?
- Subject: Re: No Fences?
- From: "Bill Meyer" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Thu, 1 Aug 2002 20:16:46 -0400
My sister works for the Nature Conservancy and she and another
employee were taken up in a helicopter over the woods by US Forrestry
people. On the trip they explained what the deer problem was. Of course, we
have eliminated all natural predators, so that's one part of the problem.
The main cause for the vastly increased size of the deer herd in the eastern
US, though, is development. It's largely unregulated here and more and more
woods are cut down for housing developments. Many people erroneously think
the deer are being displaced by this and thus moving into the housing
developments. What really is happening is that deer do not live in the
interior woods at all because there is very little food under the canopy
layer. They actually live only around the edges of woods where foliage is
abundant. They do not even venture very far into the woods in search of food
as clearings only a little ways in were entirely ungrazed while the edges
were stripped bare. The more we develop, the more edges we make, hence the
more richly foliaged habitat we create. Like most grazing animals, their
population will increase in the absence of predators and the presence of a
large food supply. It is estimated now that the white-tailed deer herd is
4-5 times the size it was at the turn of the last century.
They are pushy and territorial and will move right into feeding in
your yard and no matter how many times you chase them off, they come right
back, usually trying different times of day. They will freely experiment
with eating new foods and stick with anything they like. When food gets
scarce in winter, they will happily eat the things they don't like. Nothing
other than dogs or fences will keep them out if they are hungry enough.
Planting only plants they don't prefer is a foolish suggestion, as allowing
them to roam your yard will expose you to their worst characteristic ---
Lyme disease. Very small (approximately 1/32 inch or 1/2 mm) ticks carry
this disease and are called Deer Ticks because deer are the primary animals
that bring them into a new area. If you live in a Lyme disease area and have
deer getting into your yard, it is a matter of time before you start finding
deer ticks attached to you. They are easily missed and the risk of Lyme is
high. I know many people who have had Lyme, including Barry Yinger who
recently had to cancel tours of his garden because of his problems with the
disease. Then there are the car accidents. Over 50,000 dead deer were
removed from the roads of Pennsylvania alone last year.
We have an increasingly difficult problem with them here in the US
and our government seems at a loss as to how to handle it. I think we need
to eliminate at least 75% of the herd to get things to a more stable level.
On the plus side, that would be a lot of food for the poor.
Since I have subscribed to this forum I have always wondered why people
have deer in their gardens.This may be a stupid question, but don`t
put fences around their land? We have plenty of deer in our forests here,
but I have never heard of deer damage in gardens before... Can somebody
Marie from Austria
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