I used to react that way 30 years ago. Now, when I can’t seem to walk anywhere without seeing deer, they tend to lose their allure.
If you see one
during the day, there are a dozen hidden away that you won’t see until the sun
goes down. Wait for that period between
sunset and dark and you’re likely to find deer coming out from everywhere.
I’m still debating how the increasing deer
population will factor into my management decisions. I manage Blue Jay Barrens in an attempt to
create healthy native plant and animal communities with an emphasis on
developing populations of rare and unusual species. A major component of management is the
identification of variables that affect achievement of the desired goals. Deer are a variable that will definitely
influence the nature of the plant populations.
Will their actions work against my achieving the desired management
goals and what can be done about it if they do?
Deer trails are showing up everywhere.
Disturbed soil is necessary for the
colonization of many plant species. This
is good when those species are natives.
Unfortunately, aggressive non-native invasives thrive in these
situations and can use these trails to infiltrate native stands.
Their constant browsing often shapes the
growth pattern of woody shrubs. Patches
of Late Low Blueberry, Vaccinium pallidum, all display a flat top appearance
due to constant browsing.
Buds just below the browse point are ready to take over as leaders and
regrow what was lost.
As the deer population increases, less
desirable plant species begin to show signs of deer browsing.
This is the first year I’ve noticed them being eaten by deer. If the deer would concentrate their efforts
on non-native species, I wouldn’t be questioning their desirability at Blue Jay
The question is whether those droppings come from plants adapted to
surviving continual browsing or rarities such as the orchids that suffer
greatly from an annual pruning. It will
certainly be interesting to see what changes the deer bring to the landscape
during the next decade.
Color and Aroma of Spring
3 hours ago