WOODS ‘N’ WATER: Steps to take before ‘nuisance’ becomes crisis

WOODS ‘N’ WATER: Steps to take before ‘nuisance’ becomes crisis


A nuisance? They’re calling the whitetailed deer a nuisance?

Well, I guess that old saying, “What goes round, comes round” is finally making a mockery over the “Bambi fairytale,” at least from where I sit.

For years, we sat back and watched an ever-growing population of whitetailed deer at Bluff Point. The herd grew so large that there was no longer habitat for them to survive on. They even turned to ripping the bark off trees and saplings to try and survive.

Animal rightists protested against the DEEP using a hunt to thin the herd into numbers that would sustain the deer year round, but the DEEP Wildlife Division did the right thing. Luckily, for the remaining deer, the hunt took place and a sense of normalcy has returned to Bluff Point.

While I think that many who are against hunting and trapping to help control wildlife numbers have been misled by some animal rightists, when they say that hunting and trapping is cruel, they seem to overlook the fact that if we did not have hunting and trapping the animals would be facing even a crueler fate: death from starvation, disease and an increase in vehicle/wildlife incidents.

While deer/vehicle collisions sometimes make the headlines, especially if a person is killed or injured, how come nobody ever says anything about the squirrels, rabbits, raccoons and other small wildlife constantly being run over by vehicles? Where is the compassion for these wild critters?

More than once I have seen squirrels run over by a vehicle, and while the driver’s brake lights did come on, they never stopped to see if the critter was alive or dead. More than once I have found the injured squirrels still alive and have had to put them out of their pain and suffering.

Sure, many of us are hunters and, yes, we do harvest squirrels for consumption as well as other types of wild game, but in many cases hunting and trapping wild creatures to keep them from being overpopulated is a much cleaner end than leaving it to nature to “take its course.”

As for whitetailed deer being classified as nuisance, I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Many years ago, when I first started to hunt deer, we were given permission to hunt a piece of farm property in Colchester.

“You can shoot any of the boys [a.k.a. bucks],” the wife of the farmer told us. “But don’t shoot any of the girls [does].”

We abided by her wish for a couple of years. Then her husband had a stroke and I traveled to Colchester one night to take her to see him I the hospital.

It was rather late when we reached her home in the country and, as we pulled into her driveway, we saw a half dozen female deer in her garden having a jolly old time filling themselves up on her plantings.

I didn’t know a little old lady knew the kind of language she spouted out about the deer. I reminded her that she had requested we not harvest the “girls.”

“I’ve had enough of them destroying everything I plant,” she replied. “I want you and the other hunters to put a tag on any deer you see.”  

We did, and the number of nuisance deer that had raided her garden, shrubs and flowers went down remarkably.

Another incident up in the Kent area comes to mind regarding considering deer as a “nuisance.” A family owned a rather large piece of land, but the husband would only allow a couple of his friends to hunt it, and they were limited in their access.to the land.

The wife and husband had different views of the deer on their property. While he wanted only limited deer hunting, his wife would have liked to have seen all of them harvested.

And, yes, “harvested” is another word for killing them because we humans do like our meat to be dead before we eat it. Animals like coyotes and black bears, on the other hand, have no qualms about tearing into a downed animal while it is still alive. Hey, I told you nature wasn’t always as kind as some would like you to believe. The lady on that piece of property referred to the deer as, “rats with hooves!”

In some areas of our state, it appears deer hunting over the years has helped decrease herd populations into numbers acceptable to the available habitat. Yet in other areas, like in our surrounding towns, some deer have adapted to the suburban invasion of humans and now carry the moniker on “nuisance deer.”

This is especially true in areas where much of the farmland had morphed into domestic housing and in other spots like the Research Parkway industrial tracts of land. I have lost count of the number of deer we have seen while walking our dogs over the years on Research Parkway property.

Even now there are some spots in Connecticut where bowhunters are allowed to hunt small parcels of domestic land in an effort to get some of the deer numbers down. I have such a privilege and the folks who owned the homes were very grateful every time we tagged a deer on their property. They were sick and tired of the deer coming onto their property during the evening hours and sometimes even during the daylight, feasting on their shrubs and ornamental plants.

Some of these brash deer even come right up on porches to feed on potted plants. Some of the landowners in areas with a heavy population of deer have contacted Lyme disease from deer tick bites.

Here in Connecticut, contrary to what animal activists would have you believe, the DEEP Wildlife Division, hunters and trappers are the best bet deer, black bear and other wild critters have of maintaining a healthy population, especially in the suburbs.

Got deer problems? Contact a bow hunter for small pieces of property or a firearms hunter for 10 acres or more. Bambi is a fairy tale. Nuisance deer are real.

South Meriden Memories

For those who have been asking, we have done another publishing of my book “South Meriden Memories,” a book on growing up in the Village of South Meriden during the 1940s. The book has a lot of interesting facts about The Village.

South Meriden Memories is available at Tom’s Place Diner in South Meriden or from me at 102 Dogwood Lane, Meriden, CT 06450. The cost is $15. For each book sold, a donation will be made to Christmas in The Village, a South Meriden Christmas event. If mailing a request, make checks payable to Mike Roberts.

That’s it for now. See ya’ and God Bless America and watch over our troops wherever they may be serving our great country.