Naturally Speaking: Whitetail deer and you, part 1

Dear Readers,

Sorry for the delay in writing my first nature article for the Farmington Voice. Thank you for the questions some of you have sent.

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A few questions have come in regarding urban, suburban deer. My answers to you are honest and based on my fifteen or so years of having them visit our two acres of property. As I write this, a doe and two fawns are eating buckthorn outside my front window. I have spent hundreds of hours taking photos of all aspects of the life of deer. Four of five generations of deer have grown up around and near our home. Now for your answers.

Farmington Hills deer
(Joe Derek)
  • The Whitetail deer is our state mammal.
  • I can understand the problems with car-deer accidents in our city. We have many more carcar, drunk driving, looking at your phone, road rage, and pure stupidity crashes. If we cull deer, we should cull the people that cause these crashes too.
  • Black legged ticks that are infected by mice cause Lyme disease. Other animals, like deer, can spread the ticks around when they hitch a ride on them. The deer do not become infected.
  • Some type of fencing at least 6 feet high will keep deer out of a yard or garden. Deer can jump over this height but not from a standing stop. A panicked deer, however, can jump over a two-lane road. Present city codes can restrict fencing. I think some rules have to change.
  • I use Deer Stopper and Liquid Fence to keep deer from eating my plants. It works. Follow the directions on the products. Other residents have had the same success.
Farmington Hills deer
(Joe Derek)
  • Male deer, called bucks, rub on shrubs and trees during the breeding season. They do it to build up neck muscles to aid them when they battle other bucks with their antlers. They do not do it to tick you off. They do it because they are deer. I have lost some favorite trees and plants. You need to fence young trees.
  • I have seen many deer learn how to cross roads safely. Many of the young learn from the old.
  • Deer are smart but high-strung. They panic easily.
  • Trapping deer has never worked. When tried, the deer die of stress more than half the time.
  • Tranquilizers do not work in a city situation. Deer can travel hundreds of yards when hit with a dart.
  • Moving wildlife of any kind to other parks or locations is not allowed. It is not allowed in Heritage or Woodland Hills.
Farmington Hills deer
(Joe Derek)
  • Take care of your pets. Deer do not go out of their way to attack your dog or cat. They are usually defending themselves or their fawns.
  • Deer in our cities are used to people, cars, children playing, police and fire sirens and multitudes of other noises. So, when they look at you or do not move, it’s because they are used to the urban world they are born in. It’s not a great place for them to be. But then, neither is the planet that we have so badly polluted with human overpopulation. Remember, we have polluted our air, land, water and our food.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this article.

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