“Why won’t you just leave the poor deer alone!” screamed an older woman walking by with a small yapping dog at the end of a leash.
I stood at my truck with a blank stare and then smiled at her and thought about telling her to go take a long walk with her dog down a short pier. The cervidae family of mammals includes white-tailed deer, elk, moose, mule deer, and even reindeer. Due to suburban sprawl many white-tailed deer have become almost gypsy-like. Their wandering has gotten to the point in which towns have allowed bow hunting just a couple hundred yards away from residential properties. While walking with a friend and her dog, I saw at least a dozen deer along a paved path through a wooded area. Just before leaving the area, I stopped to take a photo of some deer who coincidentally were in frame with a “no hunting” sign. These signs were common and many self-proclaimed naturalists were in a frenzy trying to stop people from “murdering” the “innocent” deer. They are not wrong to believe what they do. Misguided is a better word.
There’s no way to accurately account for the number of deer in America. Some numbers I have seen are as high as 80 million and others as low as 10 million. However, there are some compelling data points when it comes to car accidents with deer: close to 200 people are killed a year in America. That’s not to say that we should adopt a policy of destroying all the deer, but overpopulation is a serious concern and culling is a rational option. When animals have to compete with many other animals over food, they become goofy. Deer tend to wander into highways, either due to depression or stupidity, and are annihilated by cheaply made cars, which do not react well to the sometimes couple hundred pound pieces of meat.