A mutual staredown during a utility bike ride:
Roadside Deer – Rt 376 Marker 1111 – 2018-06-20
This is just after noon, when deer should be snoozing, north of Paula’s Public House, with the deer on the creek side of the road. I’m towing the trailer with an empty propane tank, coasting down from 18 mph, and expecting the deer to jump in front of me, because that’s what deer do. It waited patiently until I passed, hopped the guide rail, trotted across the road, then clambered up the steep hillside away from the Mighty Wappinger Creek.
Searching for deer will reveal many more encounters.
We spotted a classic example of deer damage at the corner gas / repair station:
The undamaged bumper below the smashed grill and hood is diagnostic; the legs bounce off the bumper, while the body punches the grill back through the radiator. The airbags didn’t fire, but I’m pretty sure that car is just as dead as the deer.
Plenty of deer-colored fur clinches the diagnosis:
Deer-smashed car – hair detail
A few days later, a vulture overflew me on Hooker Avenue:
Vulture – 2016-09-25 – Hooker Ave
It was flapping strongly, powering its way up to cruising altitude, which seemed odd that far into the urban heat island. On the return leg of the ride, I saw what had its attention:
Deer carcass – 2016-09-25 – Hooker Ave
All swoll up, as the saying goes, and ready for the carcass disposal crew…
One deer might be cute:
Deer Herd – outlier
But the rest of the herd makes up for it:
Deer Herd – main
You’ll note the complete lack of understory vegetation; the only remaining plants can withstand continuous deer browsing. Deer have clipped all of the evergreens five feet off the ground, even through they don’t normally eat evergreens…
In fact, there’s no new tree growth in the Hudson Valley, because tree seedlings don’t stand a chance.
An early snowfall brought down a big branch from a back yard maple:
Deer nibbling downed maple branch
The split showed signs of rot from the top down, so it wouldn’t have lasted much longer anyway.
Shortly after we pulled it off the driveway, three deer stopped by to see if this new thing might be edible. Deer do not normally eat maple leaves, but there’s not much left for them to eat around here.
Searching for deer will pull up far too many posts on the subject…
We spotted this crumpled front end at a local repair shop:
Deer crash damage – overview
A closer look at the bumper tells the tale:
Deer crash damage – hair detail
Pop Quiz: estimate the total cost of that collision, including the overhead of having to deal with the insurance company and arrange alternate transportation for a week or two.
Essay: explain why it’s possible for someone to insist that both deer and humans are better off under these conditions.
In this area, vehicles serve as the top predator for deer…
Fawn eating kiwi leaves
The three pregnant does we’ve seen this season produced two pairs of twins and one set of triplets. That’s just for the does crossing our yard; we’ve seen many others around the area. The fawns are, of course, insufferably cute, but the deer have eaten everything growing on the forest floor, eaten all the tree leaves within reach, and are now working on vegetation that deer don’t normally eat.
Such as, for example, Mary’s long-suffering kiwi plants by the garden and various distasteful flowers in front of the house.
One doe maimed her starboard foreleg in an automobile collision; she was hobbling around for about a week before vanishing. Fawns, who don’t come out of the oven knowing that automobiles make fearsome predators, tend to die young; three of the seven have died on the road within walking distance of the house in the last two months.
Dead fawn at Deer Crossing sign
We recently heard a sharp bang! bang! out front, shortly followed by a police car accelerating along the road. It turns out the officer dispatched this fawn with two shots below the left ear; I think they carry a special .22 caliber gun for this very purpose. No, the fawn wasn’t standing around waiting to be shot; it had just starred in Yet Another car-on-deer collision.
This, according to the local deer huggers, is a much more desirable outcome than harvesting surplus deer and eating them. I haven’t noticed any deer huggers volunteering to pay for damages; that seems to be an externality to them.
A billboard up the road demonstrates their total lack of comprehension: a pastoral scene showing a buck (with a full rack) nuzzling a fawn. Pop quiz: who wrote that book? Bonus: how much interest do actual bucks display in their offspring at any time?
A previous rant on this subject is there.
One Less Deer
Sat down for some tech reading in the Comfy Chair one morning and spotted a lump near the road, at the foot of the deer crossing warning sign.
While I don’t know if this deer was one of that group, it’s a fair bet.
There was no freshly smashed glass or broken plastic in the area, which indicates a relatively low-speed collision, the kind where the deer’s legs snap against the bumper and the body rolls over the hood, crushing sheet metal and deforming plastic frippery along the way.
Many cars display that kind of damage around here. They look as though somebody walloped them with a huge sandbag, which is pretty much the case.
The animal huggers seem strangely silent about such events. If they had the courage of their convictions, they’d subsidize drivers (and gardeners) affected by the deer overpopulating the area. But, no, they never offer to do that.
I did find this in the driveway across the street…
Before equipping your car with such gimcrackery, read that.