Our landscape is overpopulated with deer, and we are soliciting help with reducing the herd further. Eric has already shot his limit of two for the season, but there are at least 5-6 more using our valley as documented by remote trail cameras and personal observation. Rifle season ends on December 7 while bow season extends until January 15, meaning far more opportunity for a bow-hunter to help cull the herd. We have never had time or resources to take up bow-hunting ourselves, though it is a long-term desire. If you are, or know of, a responsible bow-hunter who would like to use our 40 acres of mixed pasture and woodland to take more deer, please contact us. We have one good tree stand in a location near multiple trails that has already bagged two deer, and multiple other possible locations including 5 active scrapes being used by at least 3 different bucks. The trail-camera photos above were taken at two of these locations on 11/15/14.
Deer have been a serious problem here for the past several years. They are a constant threat to our vegetable fields; although our fencing generally keeps them out, it only takes one aggressive deer or fence fault to allow a disastrous infiltration of the tasty vegetable crops. They use our pastures very heavily, often eating down the best material before we rotate the goats onto a given piece of land, and deer-proofing many acres of pasture is much different than protecting a concentrated vegetable field. Moreover, the recent health problems we’ve had in our goat herd, including miscarriages and fatal parasite loads, have been linked by our vet to the local deer herd carrying in outside pathogens and parasites that we had not encountered in our goats prior to the past two years.
Our opinion is that local deer numbers are far too high, as can be seen both in threats to our own farm and on heavy browsing in our woods’ understory. The Missouri Department of Conservation is of the opinion that local deer populations are too low, and actually instituted limits on deer permits for this portion of Boone County. In the past, we could take out as many doe permits as we liked. In 2014, we are limited to one any-deer permit and one antlerless permit per hunter no matter how many deer we have here. But nothing prevents us from bringing in more hunters; thus, this post. Ironically and frustratingly, the “urban zone” in which more permits are still permissible starts only a few miles to our south and extends all the way to Jefferson City, encompassing plenty of remote rural land just like ours.
Deer are beautiful and interesting animals, but not when their numbers are inflated by the lack of natural predators and state-wide management policies aimed at ensuring easy hunting. So please, help us out by linking us up with a bow-hunter who can take on the ecological role of the wolf and bring these hooved rats back down to a population we can appreciate rather than curse.