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As the days shorten and fall activities begin, one of the summer rituals I will miss most is sitting on our back porch at the end of the day. At around 7pm most days, white tailed deer—usually two or three—strut across the yard to our neighbor’s apple tree. If they notice us, they freeze for a minute or so, ears flattened, then resume their foraging. Sometimes they chase each other around the neighbor’s very large yard. Once or twice, we’ve seen them stand on their back legs for a few seconds, trying to reach higher apples. It’s amazing to think such large, beautiful animals live in the small pockets of woods of our suburban township.

The herd has steadily increased in the twelve years we’ve lived in this northern suburb of Philadelphia. Gardeners trade tips on how to keep them out—a fence still seems to be the only foolproof strategy. I think the township should allow periodic hunting to reduce the number of deer, but not in my backyard. I know my wife agrees, at least with the backyard part. A decade ago, when our children were small, she looked out and saw two hunters traipsing across our lawn with crossbows. Asked what they were doing, they said the owner of a nearby wooded property had given them permission to hunt, and they were tracking a deer they thought they’d hit. My wife made it very clear they wouldn’t be doing any tracking near us. They seem to have gotten the message. We haven’t seen any hunters since.


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Comments ( 2 )

Back when I was teaching at Cornell, I was renting a house that had a huge garden and therefore a huge population of deer visitors. I loved watching the deer trot through the backyard (and across the street and through the yards of the neighbors).

Indeed, the thing I missed most when I was teaching in New Orleans was the fall season and the animals that romp up north during the fall(turkeys, deer, hedge hogs, hurons, foxes, etc.).

Your wife wouldn't approve has to be the best NIMBY rationalization I've heard yet. Mine wouldn't either, for what its worth.

We get a fair number of deer in the winter (2 blocks from a Cook County Forest Preserve) and they are striking animals in the stillness of a snowfall - particularly when they decide to leap away.