Tuesday, February 22, 2005
I've got small feet, but that seems like a pretty big deer print to me. The back parts of their hooves splay apart sometimes in the mud, and can make them seem bigger than they really are.
We see deer here a lot, but I haven't managed to get a good picture yet. They always smell us or hear us before we can get too close.
We see lots of deer signs though, from prints to scat to "rubs" (saplings that the bucks use to rub the velvet off their antlers).
Deer are becoming too numerous in this area. I've seen four roadkill deer on the local highway in the past few weeks, which at 65 mph usually means four totalled cars. Last year the deer ate all the tomatoes that we tried to grow, along with a large number of the trilliums in the woods.
I asked my mother once if she ate a lot of deer when she was growing up (in north Georgia). She said no, that there were not any deer around back then. Commercial hunting and clear-cutting wiped out most of the deer, and a lot of the deer habitat, by the early 1900s.
Most farmers hunted back then, but it was mostly for quail and other small game. I guess lots of southern grandmothers have old photo albums filled with pictures of men in overalls, posed with their hunting rifles and bird dogs.
White-tailed deer were restocked in many areas in the 30s and early 40s. Without many of their natural predators, populations have exploded.