Oh Deer

Many years ago our garden was being whipped by the wind and so we decided to plant a row of bushes to protect it. Later, we built a small feedlot south of there. A row of trees next to the bushes made sense to keep snow out of the feedlot and the cattle comfortable. We have been buying seedlings from the soil office fundraiser for as long as I can remember. Those people do a great job promoting soil conservation. It must be frustrating for them. The tradition of farmer as master over the land usually trumps the idea of working with nature instead of destroying it for short term gain.

It is too bad that the people at the soil office are having their work destroyed by a related government agency. Yesterday I discovered several trees had been shredded by deer. We had watered, weeded, and mulched those trees for years and they had finally taken off. Now they are torn to shreds.

I’ve come up with a few simple measures that could not only save lives and money, but also aid the hungry.

Many taxpayer dollars could be saved if the DNR (Department of Natural Resources) were restricted from jurisdiction over private property. When deer are on our property they should be subject to our rule not the rule of the state. Did you know it is illegal to sell harvested deer meat? Restaurants in the United States that serve venison, import it from New Zealand. Dumb.

Then there are all the hungry people who get food stamps to buy groceries. I remember back in my days in the mountains of western Montana, going to apply for food stamps. Even before the Spotted Owl scam, jobs were pretty scarce at times in timber country. I looked at all that paper work and walked out. I lived with a couple guys who could shoot straight and I could help carry, so we survived on a diet that lacked the diversity of a grocery store.

It is incredible to me that an animal that costs $4 billion and 200 lives a year in vehicle crashes is managed to provide sport for a tiny minority. That we need a license from the state to shoot a deer should be shocking to people in a free country.

We’ve spent $4 trillion on a war on terror that hasn’t impacted as many Americans as the deer. In fact, much of that $4 trillion acted as a recruitment tool or incitement, not as a deterrent. Without the incentive of our air bases in Saudi Arabia, 9/11 very well could have never happened. And our reaction to it was the most costly part. I’m not trying to discount the threat of jihad, I’m only offering perspective on another problem caused by excessive government power.

I couldn’t find a solid number on the cost of deer damage to crops and residential plantings, but even without those added, one motorcyclist hitting a deer on the interstate should be enough that our government should not only stay completely out of the deer management business, but should encourage any hungry person to seek one for their freezer at any time.

It would be fine with me if the DNR stuck to enforcing trespass laws. That would take care of all the environmental issues they are presently responsible for. Individual people should be accountable, not an easily manipulated bureaucracy.

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