Cute, huh? We haven't seen herds of twelve to twenty deer in the yard since hunting season, but the remaining does are busy making up for the losses. Now that they're bigger, the babies are coming out into the open, bouncing around and nibbling things. In fact, they're all over the place.
Click the photo to enlarge it and you'll see three fawns in the pasture, but only one doe. We found a small dead fawn in the corner of the pasture a couple of weeks later, and I suspect it was one of these, probably one that had lost its mother.
Time was, I didn't buy the argument that hunting was necessary to control the number of deer in parks and farm areas. I get it now. They are beautiful and gentle creatures. And no, I couldn't personally shoot them. But having seen firsthand how big the population is and how destructive they are to the woods and farm fields, I understand that somebody has to.
Knowing that deer would be a major problem, the hubby constructed what is essentially a cage around the vegetable garden. The fencing is about seven feet high, and it's electrified along the top and bottom edges. We call it The Corn Fort.
Deer come up to the fence every day and gaze longingly at the lettuce, but none to date have mounted an assault on the battlements. The fawns peek out from behind the barn, watching us weed and hoe, apparently curious about the whole thing. Or maybe they're casing the place for a Mission Impossible operation.
I've been making notes for future gardening projects on what deer eat and what they don't. They didn't touch daffodils or iris this spring. They did eat the new leaves of wild day lilies, but not the flower stalks once they appeared. However, a bed of hybrid day lilies was completely demolished; only a few flowers that leaned into a patch of brambles were spared.
There was a bed of purple coneflowers just under the bay window in the front of the house. Only stubble remains. Deer apparently stood within inches of the windows to browse there. Interestingly enough, they did not touch the hostas next to them, though those are supposed to be one of their favorite foods. Peonies were not eaten, either. They stripped some bark off the pussy willow in late winter, and they nipped off all the new shoots on our gnarly little apple tree.
Deer tend not to eat non-native species of wild plants, which makes sense I suppose. Unfortunately, that just helps the foreign invaders take over in wild areas. They contribute to the almost total lack of acorns in the woods, and I'll be out there burying as many of those as I can find, to help renew the stands of oak.
I love the deer. It lifts my heart to see them, and it saddens me to think of any of them dying. But I understand now that their numbers must be contained, for their own good and for the health of the environment.
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