Sunday, November 22, 2009


This weekend really marks the beginning of deer season here. Bow season has been going on, but that's quiet whereas gun season starts with a BANG! Hunters are serious about it here. In years past, before someone got smart enough to start the season on Saturday, students skipped school, teachers, factory workers, executives... took the day off to be out there on the first day of hunting season . Some men stop shaving, vowing to wear a beard until they get that buck.

There are good reasons for lowering the deer population. Both my husband and my daughter have hit a deer with their car. It's a common occurrence, and it causes injuries and incredible expense . Lyme disease is another consideration. The damage deer do to crops and garden plants is both infuriating and expensive. In this area families actually depend on the venison that hunting supplies. Provisions have been made so that the meat can be donated to food pantries in the area. I thought I had come to accept deer hunting as a good thing.

But this morning as I drank my coffee gazing out the window at the scene you see here, a magnificent buck and doe bounded across the ridge into my sight. They were panic stricken and terrified, unsure where to go to escape their tormentors. It was hard to watch. They soon ran off in the direction of the neighbor's farm. So I remain conflicted about the deer. On the one hand I see them as beautiful wild animals who deserve to be left alone. On the other I see the problems they cause.

After the first few days the number of hunters in the woods drops dramatically. For now, work done outside in the garden will be done close to the house dressed in fluorescent orange "I am not a deer" clothing. It's not so safe to venture far afield. As infuriated as I get when they eat my favorite plants, I have to admit that in November I still side with the deer. Perhaps I always will.

1 comment:

Kathy said...

Sometimes ambivalence is a good thing. I am sure you are aware that a deer population without predators soon gets into trouble. If a human predator wasn't chasing them, a coyote would be. So while hunting may not be good for an individual deer, it can be good for the group if not overdone.

The invasive multiflora rose has an incredible fragrance, as does the invasive Dame's Rocket. Somehow I can dig up the rose without qualms, but my hand hesitates at the Dame's Rocket. A lot of things aren't black-and-white good-or-bad.

By the way, congrats on making it to Horticulture's Top Twenty.