Oh, Deer

THERE’S BEEN A SHIFT IN MY THINKING on deer, as on so many things lately.

Just the other day, I was yelling and rattling screens at them, worried they would devour my newly planted white pine, holly, and arborvitae, and whipping up big batches of peppery homemade deer repellent.

But yesterday, I saw three or four of them walking, gracefully as always, but more slowly it seemed, through the snow of my backyard. They tend to show up in the late afternoon. I imagined they looked thinner. They didn’t seem desperate (how would I know?), but I know there isn’t much for them to eat around here. And it’s been so cold.

I briefly thought of feeding them my table scraps, the bucket full that’s meant for the compost heap. But I read up a little, on a State of Michigan website, and realized that’s probably not a good idea. Deer aren’t pigs. They’re particular, and eat different kinds of foods according to the season. I don’t think they could do anything with my orange peels and coffee grinds anyway.

But I feel sorry for them, and I don’t want them to starve. One thing they do eat is dried oak leaves, and I’ve got plenty of those on the ground. I could expose more of them with a rake or shovel. And I’ve decided to relax about the shrubs. I can’t maintain a constant vigil. And they probably won’t kill them, just defoliate them a bit. Come spring, they’ll find more to eat in the woods.

But there’s still a lot of winter ahead.


“Gotta get through January, gotta get through February…” – Van Morrison, Fire in the Belly

About cara

I blog (for fun) here at casaCARA, and write (for money) about architecture, interiors, gardens and travel for many national magazines and websites.
This entry was posted in COTTAGE LIVING, HAMPTONS, LANDSCAPING, LONG ISLAND, MISCELLANEOUS and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Oh, Deer

  1. sara says:

    could a trip to town for a mineral block be in your future…works for us to keep one on back of property away from road and plantings close to house.

  2. cara says:

    Where do you buy such a thing?

  3. Astor C. says:

    Lemme tell ya, coyote urine keeps them v’rmits away. There’s a site on the ‘net that sells it. ‘course makes ya wonder how DO they collect it???

  4. animal lover says:

    I fall between feeding and repelling. I like the idea of having things grow in the yard that wildlife can use, but I don’t want to interfere by purchasing feed to support more animals than the area would naturally.

    A hard winter like this might change my mind if I was watching “my” wildlife struggle…

  5. Quinn says:

    I have friends who buy deer food and feed a herd out in their woods. It’s a beautiful sight to see them silently show up for the food. Apparently, though, feeding them is illegal here in Virginia.

  6. sara says:

    not illegal in ohio, we have delivered from local feed store. really seems to help keep them in the woods and not roaming out to road and close to house

  7. Nancy says:

    Love the connection to the Van Morrison lyric!

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