Oh, Deer!


The temperature was predicted to be in the 90’s the other day, so as soon as I was awake, I grabbed the sun visor and the camera and was out the door to take advantage of the cool morning air.

My current route takes me part way around a lake and then into the back door of our state’s botanical gardens, so within half an hour I am strolling down a quiet woods road fragrant with the spice of pine and warming loam and honeysuckle. Unfortunately, the deer flies like it there too, so it is a mixed blessing as I stride through the shadows with waving arms, batting at my own head and combing the damned things out of my hair with my fingers.

The flies were almost forgotten when a deer sauntered out in front of me. I thought she was going to come over and ask me for directions. It was either too hot already for her to care, or more likely, she had become so accustomed to humans flailing their way down the road that she hardly noticed them any more. She meandered to the other field when her fawn bounced out and ran after her, which left one more deer near the woods line where she had come from. It was busy stripping a bush, reaching its graceful muzzle into the mass of green and yanking it down. I knew I was witnessing what has been called an irreversible assault on the forests of the northeast. The number of white-tailed deer, once almost zero in New Jersey, have not only rebounded, but have exploded out of control. Even hunting has not put a dent in their numbers. And sadly, the understory of many forest tracts have been grazed out, destroying nest sites for many bird species (whose numbers have predictably declined) and creating perfect habitat for opportunistic non-nutritious, invasive plants such as barberry, garlic mustard and Japanese knotweed.

I am torn between seeing the graceful and innocent beauty of a deer and the grief of the loss of our forests, which is the greater concern. I have no solution to offer, though humane options always get my vote!

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This entry was posted in barberry, deer, gardens, garlic mustard, knotweed, muzzle, woods. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Oh, Deer!

  1. I’m with you on this one, the deer up here also are out of control. While I don’t like to see them killed unnecessarily they need to have some sort of control. They eat everything in site(including all my bushes and plants) and are a hazard on the roads.Glad to hear you had a nice walk, except for the bugs, have you ever tried Avon’s Skin So Soft, it smells awful but it works.

  2. djbrown says:

    Avon’s Skin So Soft worked great in the rain forests of Costa Rica and the jungles of Belize (birding trips). Not so good for the flies in New Jersey. I am waiting for Cold to nail the suckers.

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