My inlaws live in the middle of suburbia surrounded by a large metro park. Their backyard is proof that urban deer exist, and exist in higher numbers than some may think. Don’t believe me? Then check out this out:
No need to rub your eyes or pinch yourself. That really is four bucks milling around the bird feeder. Just a few blocks away from more traffic and congestion than you can believe.
Journalist Jim Sterba wrote about this urban deer phenomena in his book, Nature Wars. In the book, he discusses how wildlife is rebounding despite urban sprawl and other human intervention that changes habitat and environmental balance. Yet, instead of appreciating these natural recovery efforts, deer and other animals can be seen as a nuisance by some.
Back when we lived in Michigan, roadkill deer were a common occurrence. While we rescued a few that were hours old for our own freezer since it seemed such a waste otherwise, so many lay unclaimed and unused. We opted to try to figure out a solution that would put the meat in better hands than the blacktopped shoulder of a city street.
Unfortunately, it seemed then — and I’m not certain if it has changed now — that large food banks were unable to accept game unless it was processed in state-inspected (or federally-inspected) processing facilities. Smaller food shelves and meal sites; however, were able to take the donations directly. We were, at the time, trying to figure out a system that would bring freshly killed deer to local processors in order to then donate the venison to local food shelves.
While we didn’t get far, I still think that it is an important idea. For us, we were soon wrapped up in a major life move — from city to country — and with our location change, a certain shift occurred. Here, in the rolling fields and foothills of the Green Mountains of Vermont, deer are seen less as a nuisance. In fact, all of my recent conversations with our mailman, neighbors, and acquaintances seem to focus on whether anyone has seen deer, and if so, where and how many. And it’s not just those who actually deer hunt who seem to be excited the deer are plentiful, but nearly everyone around here. I wonder why that is.
New to bowhunting? Check out my “Beginner’s Guide to Archery: For Women” DVD HERE.