Oh, deer!

Can you spy the deer in this photo?

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Not so easy? Then how about this one?

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And again? Yes, now there are two!

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Tim and I have seen these two young whitetail deer intermittently on the woodland terraces near the river since early summer, when they first appeared with their mother, who had a single fawn in 2015. Born in late May, give or take a few weeks, they probably weigh about 70 or so pounds and have been recently abandoned by their mother for another cycle of reproduction.  Tim says they are little bucks.  I have to admit, they look so lost and timid just now, I can’t help but feel sorry for them.

But deer, as we all know, can do a lot of damage in a garden. Currently, they are grazing on acorns, but in spring they eat my beloved wild Solomon’s seal (Polygonatum biflorum) down to a nub.

Even worse, the overpopulation of whitetail deer throughout the Eastern Seaboard is accountable for significant crop losses, forest damage, car collisions (more than 2,000 annually in South Carolina alone), and spread of Lyme disease. Just 2 deer, without predation, can produce a herd of 35 in just 7 years.  It’s a huge problem.

Even so, who could blame these little ones for simply doing the best they can? They might be trouble makers, but I get excited every time I see them.

23 thoughts on “Oh, deer!

  1. Pat Webster www.siteandinsight.com

    I understand the excitement… but we now have so many deer that I have used up all of mine. Coming out of the front door yesterday, four of them were grazing on the hillside near the cascade. They are almost tame, accustomed to people coming and going. It is hunting season now, though… They are lovely to look at, I only wish they didn’t enjoy the same plants I do!

    Reply
    1. Marian St.Clair Post author

      Pat–Yes, such a shame they eat plants. I have heard deer numbers are going down now that we have coyotes. There has been talk about raising hunting limits, but I don’t know which way that has gone.

      Reply
  2. Beverly Cannon

    ………Or try the old standby of mothballs. Works on pine voles, and I have found that what works on deer usually works on voles (Nothing is entirely safe from deer, as we know)

    Reply
    1. Marian St.Clair Post author

      Beverly–Let’s not mention voles. Lucky for me, my neighbor has a cat that likes to hunt, but I think voles are like deer…they reproduce so quickly, it’s hard to get ahead.

      Reply
  3. Judy @ NewEnglandGardenAndThread

    When I first see them, I think Bambi and smile. Then I think blueberry bushes, hosta, etc, etc. My neighbor feeds them all through the winter so I have plenty of opportunity to ‘see’ them, and they have plenty of time to browse at my outdoor buffet. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Marian St.Clair Post author

      Libby–If they’re bucks, I don’t think I have to worry about them staying indefinitely. Of course, their mother is another story…this stretch along the river seems to be her urban refuge.

      Reply
  4. Linda (More Fun Less Laundry)

    I enjoyed the “search and find” in your photos, Marian! They are so adorable when they are young, and we have a huge buck that occasionally walks through our back yard. I just saw two young bucks, much in the same condition as yours, last week. They had been traveling with their mother through our front yard earlier! We have found a deer spray that seems to help, but they still ate two huge hydrangea plants down to the stems. Cute, but cuter when they stay in the woods! Linda

    Reply
  5. Eliza Waters

    Great I-Spy photo! When I was out photographing the moon last night our small herd of 4 came out of the woods and since I was still and downwind, one walked right by me, not 10 ft. away. Kind of a thrill, but then a car came by and it was gone. A moment to leave you breathless!

    Reply

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