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  • Subdivision Wildlife

    Posted by Dan from Madison on November 15th, 2008 (All posts by )

    My posts about cougars here and at LITGM drew a lot of traffic. It seems as though it is a subject of interest to a lot of people (a new cougar link dump soon to come). Gerry’s post here about coyotes also drew some links and clicks. The common thread is the encroachment of wildlife in typical non wildlife domains. I am not talking about “urban sprawl”, or people moving into areas where there is already wildlife established. I am referring to animals encroaching back into populated areas. This photo below was taken on the way to work this morning. Before bashing my photography skills, some background. Just outside of my house is this four lane highway. A deer was running down the median in the center, right next to my car. I changed lanes to the right lane and slowed down, all the while getting my camera out. When the deer randomly decided to cross the road I was ready and was able to slow down and snap this admittedly crappy photo with the one free hand I had (the other on the wheel). You can see the deer in the left lane here. It was a very large doe. She crossed the street, looked back at me and went into someone else’s yard. Click photo to enlarge.

    Car deer accidents cost insurance companies (and, in the end, us) millions upon millions of dollars. This is a very good pdf put out by the Wisconsin DOT that gives a lot of good information about car deer crashes.

    What is funny (or not funny) about this is that outside of extending the hunting seasons I don’t see any way that this problem will go down or go away – and I think it is getting worse. I see deer alongside the road (dead and alive) almost every day that I drive to work. When I was a kid it was a BIG deal to see a deer in the wild.

    The deer has very few natural predators around here any more. The only ones I can think of are wolves (only in Northern Wisconsin), and coyotes if they hunt in a pack. We also have the random cougar that comes by on occasion. One other predator of deer is winter. I hate to do this to myself, but I am wishing for a bitterly cold winter to kill off a bunch of the deer. I would rather suffer through a few months of bone chilling cold than risk my safety or the safety of my family due to a car-deer crash.

    Cross posted at LITGM.

     

    55 Responses to “Subdivision Wildlife”

    1. sol vason Says:

      A good driver keeps one eye on the road watching traffic and the other eye in the bush watching for deer, moose, carribou, sheep, cattle, dogs, coyotes, wolves, cats, skunks – all of which I see regularly and dodge frequently. I think its caused by global warming. Don’t see many horses. Might see more if gas prices go up.

      Where I live we have the rule “if you kill it, you eat it” and most people take their roadkill home with them. Although we do have some controversy about whether or not laws against killing an animal out of season or without a license should be enforced in these cases.

    2. Dan from Madison Says:

      Those who can many times do take home venson killed on the road for later consumption here in Wisco.

    3. Jerry Says:

      My son and his family were due at our house when I received a call from his wife saying that there was an adult bear sitting on their front lawn. They feared going out to their car with 2 young children. She’s too animal-friendly to have called their Animal Control Dept and simply waited fifteen minutes until the bear went back into the woods. This is in suburban Northern NJ, in a development community, surely not a cabin lost somewhere out on the Rocky Mountains.
      Its a rare day when I don’t see deer on the neighborhood streets or backyards.
      I too, have woods bordering my backyard. One morning, I was looking out my back window and watched as a turkey emerged from the woods and stupidly strolled into my backyard. Shortly thereafter, it was followed by over fifty more. I counted them and gave up after 50. Watching these gobblers cooly strutting around, I recalled watching a hunting show one late night where the hunter was all camo’d up including his gun, hands and face keeping himself as still as a Marine sniper. I wonder what could lure enough of these birds to feed half the town, seemingly so willing to put themselves within shotgun range. Especially considering it was Thanksgiving morning.

    4. Dan from Madison Says:

      We have wild turkeys in my subdivision as well. I wonder if coyotes eat them?

      My grandmother who lives in Northern Wisconsin has a recurring problem of black bears knocking down her bird feeders. Granted she does live in the sticks, not in suburbia.

    5. Jerry Says:

      Bears knock down bird feeders? Uh oh!! I’m a former NYCity slicker who’s knowledge of bears comes from cartoon characters and sticky candy.
      And here I was, blaming the neighborhood kids for my downed feeders.

    6. Kelly Says:

      Of course turkeys come out to celebrate on Thanksgiving morning, when it’s too late to clean and cook them for the day. They survived. What interests me is how they know; do they monitor broadcast advertisements, the size of the newspapers delivered that morning, the stirrings at the mall before Black Friday? Or something as simple as the smell of pumpkin pies baking?

    7. Robert Schwartz Says:

      “We have wild turkeys in my subdivision as well. I wonder if coyotes eat them?”

      The turkeys are pretty nasty, so I would guess that coyotes don’t eat live ones. They do like bird eggs and have been credited with controlling goose numbers hereabouts.

      I still say the deer are like a holiday buffet for the cougars. The kitties won’t stay away forever.

    8. Chris Says:

      This is a well documented occurence. To the dismay of enviro-alarmists, deer populations are doing very very well in the suburbs of midwestern cities. Back at my parents house in Lenexa, KS(a suburb of KC) every year I go back to visit, there are more and more deer running amok in the suburbs. I see no less than a half dozen deer in yards/roads every time I visit, whereas when I was in high school at that very same home 20 years ago, I saw maybe that many in a season.

    9. Dan from Madison Says:

      Robert Schwartz – Venison is indeed the cougar’s preferred fare. And you are right – it isn’t a matter of if, it is a matter of when that cougar populations begin to spread east as the males must have their own turf. The younger males will keep spreading out from the established packs in the Dakotas and elsewhere. They are just hard wired that way. What is important is that enviro crazies do NOT feed them or let them assimilate to living in the ‘burbs. That is how people, dogs and kids get attacked. Woods, good. Suburbia, bad.

    10. Jerry Says:

      As soon as turkeys see all those Pilgrim decorations in grade school windows they know its time to go on the lam. As Kelly knowingly indicates, as soon as those pumpkin pies are out to cool, they can come out and and flip us all a Thanksgiving bird.
      This year perhaps, the economy being what it is, they may not be so clever. A free turkey may be on everybody’s menu at any time this year. Hunting laws be damned!

    11. njcommuter Says:

      I’ve had several adverse encounter with the white-tailed rats, and I think I’ve figured something out.

      When you change lanes to avoid them, they often swing right back into your lane. I think this is a survival strategy: charge the predator, then veer off at the last instant so that you and the predator are moving apart, fast. If the predator relies on a short burst of speed to get you, it probably can’t stop, turn around, and make up the speed.

      Unfortunately, cars are not predators and they are usually moving too fast.

    12. Jay Manifold Says:

      Chris – Reporting in from about 8 miles east of Lenexa, in a 50+ year-old neighborhood in KC MO, a 6-point (possibly 8-point) buck appeared in my front yard at 6:20 PM yesterday. Kinda sad because it was walking slowly and with a pronounced limp; I wonder if it had already been hit by a car. One or two dead deer turn up on the 4-lane street just west of my house every autumn. I regularly see them when I’m out running or hiking.

    13. Sean P Says:

      I have a flock of parrots in my subdivision in Southern California.

      At first it was just one, which leads me to think that it was a couple of caged birds that got loose but nobody called animal control on, but this morning (right before the fires started) I saw a flock of about 30 of ‘em flapping to their favorite nesting place.

    14. Jonathan Says:

      A community garden in Washington, DC. The fences are necessary to keep deer from eating the plants.

    15. Randomizer Says:

      I live in an outer suburb of Cleveland. We have plenty of trees and green space, older houses with large lots, along with newer houses in housing developments. Deer live fat in these outer ring ‘burbs. The populations of deer have been exploding in these suburban areas of Ohio, PA, and Indiana. There are no predators, and the landscaping shrubs are a tasty food source.

      I see deer every day, and frequently, packs of deer. On a recent 1/2 mile walk to the end of the street at around dusk, I saw 3 groups of deer. The last group of deer were standing in a gas station parking lot under a street light. They weren’t smoking or shooting dice, but they looked like they were planning something.

      Two neighboring suburbs allow bow hunting in season by homeowners. There are restrictions on lot size and tree stands are required, but 150 deers were taken last year in one of these suburbs. Our Ohio Department of Natural Resources agent said that contraceptive bait doesn’t have much impact, and bringing in paid hunters to cull the herd is expensive. He seemed to be in favor of homeowner hunting.

      It seems like a good idea. People who want it, get high quality, low fat meat, while helping the environment!

    16. Mike in Lafayette, LA Says:

      We live less than 2 miles from the largest mall in a 5 parish (county) area in south central Louisiana and had a bear walk through a neighbors yard, been followed by a pack of coyotes while out for an early morning jog. Hawks nest in a tree in a large lot right behind the house. Deer are a nuisance.

    17. Hyacinth Bucket Says:

      I live in the Bronx, NY, and there is a small park opposite my building with 5 species of native mammals at least- raccoons, skunks, squirrels, opossums and voles.

    18. Hyacinth Bucket Says:

      Also there are Bald Eagles living across the Harlem River, in Inwood Park, Manhattan.

    19. miles Says:

      Another Johnson County Kansas reader here – Mission, KS to be exact – where one can find deer, foxes, blue herons, turkeys and, though I’ve never seen them, coyotes. Lenexa is lousy with deer, and there were credible reports of cougar sightings there and in Olathe a couple years ago. There were even a couple buzzards nesting where I work, feeding on all the critters that got run over, I imagine.

    20. Brian Says:

      Re-legalize market hunting for qualified expert hunters.

      Lots of state governments aren’t necessarily interested in controlling deer populations – they’re interested in selling hunting licenses, and therefore they’ve got an interest in making it as easy as possible for hunters to take deer no matter how many starve over the winter or dash out in front of your car.

    21. Kevin R.C. O'Brien Says:

      We’ve got a real problem with deer and coyotes at my airport. Thing is, I’m on the Atlantic Ocean in Massachusetts.

      Friend of mine nailed a small roe deer at about 110 mph on the Autobahn in Germany and did terminal damage to his 560 Benz. We’re talking a 30-lb. medium-dog-sized barking deer of a European species without an American analogue. Fortunately (?) US highways generally have lower-speed, and therefore lower KE, deer-car collisions.

      But imagine what happens when a landing Gulfstream jet at 150 or a little (2000 lb, half the weight of most cars and less than 1/3 the weight of that Benz) prop Mooney at 85 kiss a deer on the runway. So far, we haven’t had a fatal from this locally, knock wood, but there have been nine fatalities nationwide since 1990, and insurers have had to buy part or all of nearly eight hundred airplanes. A coyote strike is even less likely to be fatal, but you can’t hit much anything in an airplane and not have many thousands of damage (even bird strikes are serious and have caused the loss of airliners). Thing is, we get in our machines and move faster than the wildlife has evolved to expect. It’s a hazard that we have to live with.

      Deer were always here but because New England is much more forested than it was hundreds of years ago, there are more deer around than ever. Coyotes have and continue to expand their range. It is strange that environmentalists, always keen to reintroduce a predator to a range from which it’s been squeezed out, also fight control of predators that expand their range, but they do. I’ve come to think of environmentalism as we know it today a kind of immature emotionalism resulting from too much Bambi and too little actual science with numbers and stuff in one’s formative education. The most extreme version is, “animal rights,” which is ultimately damaging to human rights and usually indicates weak reasoning as well as weak education in science as well as history and civics.

      Here’s a link about the deer hazard to small aircraft.
      http://www.aopa.org/asf/epilot_acc/atl06ca043.html

      And here are some official data on bird and other wildlife strikes:
      http://www.birdstrike.org/birds.htm

      I’d just like to add one thing: the most hazardous birds, starlings, are an invasive species, not a native American one. Of course, controlling them is “interfering with nature” to the pasty-faced, sunken-chested, Manhattan/DC envirolobbyists.

    22. My Theory = Suburban Leash Laws- edh Says:

      Not to go all “law and economics” on you, but how much does the prolifieration of leash laws in suburban communities over the last 30 years have to do with this trend?

      When I was growing up, dogs in my neighborhood would run free, in groups sometimes.

      Maybe they didn’t catch, kill and eat the animals, but I’m sure they’d chase them away.

      How much would this affect the territories of the larger wild critters, I don’t know?

    23. PJ Says:

      It’s a problem everywhere–coyotes are now living in downtown Chicago with ease. It’s not encroachment by humans but the reverse. We ban shooting, we offer them food–cats and dogs–and still act as if they are permanently endangered.

      I had a big argument with the CA Fish and Game gal about why she wouldn’t do anything about coyotes in our neighborhood. Why do they have a right to live freely but my cat doesn’t? She couldn’t answer that. Personally, I think they revile domesticated animals and those who domesticate them both.

    24. Kasper Hauser Says:

      It is getting worse. Some raccoons moved into the attic of my apartment building here in Northern Virginia and we did nothing about it. Next thing you know, Coyotes have taken leases on all the basement apartments and moved in with all thier bothers and sisters and cousins. They’re okay neighbors most of the time, but I don’t like the way they eye my cats…..and it gets damn noisy at night when the moon is full and start up with that damn howling.

    25. billb Says:

      There are more deer than Republicans in central New Jersey

    26. liberty Says:

      It’s not just an issue for ‘outer ring’ suburbs. I live in an inner ring suburbs of Chicago – about 10 miles west of the Sears Tower. We have hawks, fox, raccoons, deer and coyote. The deer population is out of control and doesn’t just threaten drivers – one knocked me off my bicycle!

    27. J Richardson Says:

      Fairfax County, VA has a similar problem. I remember reading somewhere (Washington Post maybe) about how homeowner’s would hire animal control experts to bow hunt the deer. The article was big on the perception of deer changing from Bambi to the white-tailed yard rat eating the shrubs. The meat was donated to local homeless shelters and was a win-win for everyone.

      However, some residents have had to fight their homeowner’s association for the right to bow hunt deer on their own property. The article below describes their fight and the advantages of using bow hunters to try and control the deer population.

      http://www.deeranddeerhunting.com/article/Bowhunt_Victory/

    28. L Goldman Says:

      I have an apartment in center city Philadelphia, right around the corner frfom Jefferson University hospital. You should have seen the crowd of people who stopped to watch a hawk which had struck a squirrel on the lawn. Nothing suburban about the area, it’s been metropolitan since the settling of America.
      I have also had a golden eagle perched on my balcony railing when I lived in Athens, Georgia, which is admittedly more rural.
      I understand birds of prey will take pets as well, but don’t see these as the same threat to the population as I do coyotes, and they are certainly nowhere nearly as destructive as deer or raccoons. I would guess we need some kind of long range plan set out to decide what type and how much wildlife we want interacting with our residential areas.

    29. Peterargus Says:

      Long Island checking in here.

      Well at least you have some predators. The only predators deer have here are cars. The deer and geese are out of control. The ponds are foul from goose waste and deer tick diseases are increasing. Winters here can be mild and it doesn’t really matter because people feed the deer. So we don’t even have winter culling the herd.

      Many of my suburban neighbors have bambi attitudes about deer. If you really want a laugh google deer contraception and Fire Island. Yep here on Long Island we have sex ed for our wildlife. Just say no bambi!

    30. KG2V Says:

      RE Deer
      I have a friend who is a wildlife biologist for NY State – he says there are more deer now than ever, and that deer actually LIKE to live in suburbs. Deer are browsers – they eat some grass, the buds off trees and flowers etc – they don’t eat TREES. Now, you take your nice suburb that has say 1/2 acre lots, with some woods around – you have just given the deer FOOD (your shrubs and flowers etc) and a place to hide (those patches of woods) – it’s actually BETTER deer habitat than the woods!

      And how much is the deer population growing – hint, I know of at least 2 locations (I’ve been asked to to say where) in New York CITY where deer have decided to live. Last year, I saw an 8 pt buck road killed right near one of the spots – yes, in NYC

    31. Peterargus Says:

      Let me add this to my above rant.

      Here is some ironic peta wackiness coming full circle. We too have a serious overpopulation of raccoons and red foxes (btw an introduced species)who regularly dine on endangered and threaten species such as piping plovers and diamondback terrapins. Poor fox hunters cannot even have real hunts any longer because it is mean to kill those mange vermin foxes.

    32. Dan from Madison Says:

      Peterargus – reading things about people feeding deer makes me cringe. That is the very worst thing they can possibly do. They are great carriers of the ticks that carry lyme’s disease.

      Liberty – knocked you off your bicycle! That would be the final straw for me, I would have to carry a rifle along with the pistol I currently carry while riding.

      My Theory – I agree that the leash laws have no doubt had somewhat of an effect of helping the nuisance animals out. A pack of dogs is a VERY effective deterrent for cougars and the only real way to hunt them in fact.

      In general, there seems to be a theme developing, one of cities and municipalities not allowing very much needed hunts and other types of efforts to deter the pests.

    33. John Moore Says:

      I live 7 miles from the center of Phoenix, which is the heart of a huge metroplex of about 70 x 50 miles. In my neighborhood I have seen Javelina (wild pig), many many coyotes, raccoons, foxes (one rabid), kangaroo rats, pack rats, many rattlesnakes and other kinds of snakes, many scorpions and centipedes, owls, hawks, eagles, road-runners, … A neighborhood pet (usually cats or small dogs) is lost to wildlife every couple of weeks. We have lost two Yorkies – one to an owl and one to coyotes.

      However, unlike most commenters, we are the intruders in that the land in all yards retains its natural desert nature, with no walls, and we adjoin the 7 mile long Phoenix Mountain Preserve.

    34. Gordon Says:

      In the Twin Cities, the deer and the geese are pretty bad. The geese crap all over the sidewalks, and block traffic. The deer are actually seen in the inner city at times and I’ve seen coyotes and cougars in the suburbs. Wild turkeys show up here and there. Eagles, both bald and golden, are nesting within the 494/694 beltway. I suspect the reason we don’t see more deer and turkeys in the city is because our Hmong population regards such things as found treasure, and quietly harvest them.

      I have friends I visit often in a wooded suburb. I always am watching for the deer when I drive there, and I’m rarely disappointed. I could take deer from his deck with my bow easily; they stroll right bay, some stopping for a few apples from the neighbor’s tree.

    35. Peterargus Says:

      Dan

      I have a ridgeback who is very much for repealing leash laws. I suspect he is a libertarian.

    36. Dan from Madison Says:

      Gordon – if you have seen cougar in those suburbs, you have big trouble. You should talk to your DNR about hunting them or they will eventually eat pets and eventually there will be a human attack. Matter of time.

    37. William Woody Says:

      It’s hard to think of Los Angeles as anything but one large sea of concrete and asphalt stretching from Simi Valley in the north-west all the way down to Orange County a hundred-something miles to the south-east, from the Pacific Ocean all the way to the high deserts in the north-east.

      Yet we have deer: the first summer I lived here while going to college a major freeway interchange some 10 miles from any open space was shut down because a deer had crossed into the road and was blocking traffic. (He hopped onto the freeway during a traffic jam, so he wasn’t hit because cars were going slow enough to avoid him.) I’ve also seen deer eat very expensive landscape installations in my neighborhood, like very high end salad bars.

      We have coyotes: I’ve watched packs of them walk up and down my street. They prey upon people’s cats and dogs and brown squirrels which are a plague out here. (Figuratively and literally, as brown squirrels out here are often bubonic plague carriers.)

      We have raccoons and possums: I’ve seen more than one dead possum in the middle of the road, though it appears raccoons are smart enough to look both ways before crossing a major intersection. Raccoons also use the storm drainage system as an underground freeway.

      And it’s not uncommon to hear reports of skunks in the Hollywood area at night. (I’ve seen skunks in Hollywood late at night on the side roads leading off of the main tourist stretches of Hollywood and Sunset.)

      We also have bats, owls (which are awesome if you can spot them at night–they’re completely silent), rats, and pigeons, and–of all the crazy things I’ve ever seen–feral parakeet flocks.

      My father once encountered a wildlife biologist doing a population count of groundhogs in Bakersfield while he was running and asked her about what she was doing. He learned from her that it was a myth that urban encroachment destroyed the local wildlife–that while it was true some critters failed to adopt to urban encroachment, other local wildlife adapted quite well and often thrived in an urban setting. Groundhogs did especially well along the farming canals that crossed Bakersfield, especially behind shopping centers with restaurants: the left-over food dumped by those restaurants provided a much higher quality of food than groundhogs normally ate in the wild, and so were often numerous, fat and happy.

    38. George Says:

      I haven’t seen any deer here in the suburbs of Dallas. I saw a raccoon in the company parking lot last week, see skunks regularly, and saw a coyote, a bobcat, and several armadillos near creeks. A coworker saw a cougar on his farm just outside the city. The surprising observation is most of these wild animals had little fear of me. They just walked away at a leisurely pace. Lots of firearms here in Texas, but the suburban wildlife don’t have much experience with being shot at. Great-tailed Grackles follow my lawn mower, looking for freshly exposed insects. I’ve also had to chase fox squirrels out of the house on a couple of occasions.

    39. Dan from Madison Says:

      William Woody – “the left-over food dumped by those restaurants provided a much higher quality of food than groundhogs normally ate in the wild, and so were often numerous, fat and happy.” – It is extremely important for people to secure their garbage or they are simply inviting vermin to open the buffet on their property.

    40. Hucbald Says:

      Bow hunting deer in suburbia is a really good idea. I prefer a recurve because I’ve been hunting with them since high school, but they’re a serious challenge to shoot accurately (Jeez, high school, that’s 30 years ago now), but newbies can learn to shoot modern compound bows accurately in no time. The problem is, of course, getting over the objections of bunny-hugging neighbors. Several suburbs here in Texas that started out as, “Oh, look at the pretty deer, let’s feed them!” places have started allowing homeowners to shoot deer with bows now. The turning point? When all those pretty, hungry deer started destroying everybody’s vegetable and flower gardens (I’m talking big lot suburbs where everybody is on a half-acre or more). Deer don’t care if you hug bunnies, they’ll eat you out of flowers and string beans anyway.

      Venison is also the second lowest cholesterol red meat behind American Bison… and it’s yummy.

      I was going to tell the story of me hitting a deer on my motorcycle, but the guy who hit one on his bicycle has me beat by miles! LOL!

    41. Robert Schwartz Says:

      “Woods, good. Suburbia, bad.”

      The day will come when cities have walls and no one will take a walk in the burbs w/o a pistol.

      I am looking forward to it.

    42. Neo Says:

      I work in Northwest Austin, TX and there are always deer in the tech park complex I work in. It seems to be a large family/herd group of about 15-25.

      Its a pretty large group to find enough resources to live in the capital of Texas (granted we are not downtown, but still its fairly urban).

      Animals can adapt, its a basic feature of all life.

    43. Simon Kenton Says:

      From a canyon a mile west of Boulder: deer all the time, 2 species of foxes, fox and Abert sqirrels, cottontails, lion, bobcat, and 2 moose. The deer attract the lions, which soon discover pets are easier; dozens have vanished around here. But the deer also attracted me; I took one with a crossbow in the back yard. See http://www.excaliburcrossbow.com/ – the Exocet. Xbows are only legal here in the rifle season. They are perfect for my application: so accurate you better not shoot more than one quarrel at a target lest you get a Robin Hood; silent as a string at the end of a Chekov play; and if you know the internal anatomy of a deer, deadly within a few yards. Incidentally, mule deer killed by exsanguination, as with an Xbow bolt, taste better than those taken by rifle.

      Now we in Boulder are generally — I unfortunately have repeatedly failed the examination — the spiritual superiors of the rest of the US, and a symptom of how evolved we are is that we disapprove of hunting. But the same number of deer need to die each year, and do die each year, whether we hunt them or not. This means that our chief control agent is the automobile. So instead of taking them with a $0.50 .308 cartridge or a $7 arrow, we take them with $3000 worth of auto repairs. But it’s worth it to us. It keeps us pure. (Incidentally and not surprisingly, our margins for Obama were bigger than yours.)

    44. Dan from Madison Says:

      Very nice crossbow. I think I might need one.

    45. Dan from Madison Says:

      Upon further review, I definitely need one. Those crossbows are very nice looking and much more affordable than I thought they would be. Just what I need, another hobby – but I think I can fold this one in with my guns and call them both “targeting”. Yea, that will get it past the wife.

    46. Jerry Says:

      One day approaching my son’s new home I noticed a fawn hidden in the shrubs near his front door. Kind, gentle soul that I am, I thought that I’d put it in his 6 ft. high fenced yard until the Animal Control folks could come and deal with it. I didn’t want any feral junkyard dog to make a quick meal of the poor thing. After getting the runaround from the Animal Control people as to when they could take care of the fawn it occurred to me that its mommy probably left it for safekeeping while she went off foraging or shopping or for some hoochiekooing. She’d be back for her baby soon enough. When she realized her fawn was on the other side of the yard’s fence, she’d try to break it down to get the baby out.
      On second thought its best to leave nature take its course. I brought the fawn back to where I found it. I didn’t even expect a thank-you card.

    47. comatus Says:

      Paradoxically, it was the coming of the automobile (and the concomitant passing of the horse) that brought back the whitetail. Hay farms–there were a lot of them–failed spectacularly when the non-pastured horse population dropped, and suddenly there was more deer habitat than there had been in colonial times.

      Only a skilled game butcher should mess (term used advisedly) with road kill. If the integuments between the upper and lower body cavity are ruptured–typical in a car encounter–the meat is essentially poison, shot through with fecal bacteria. Despite what you’ve heard, the Dodge Ram is not the hunting weapon of choice.

    48. Simon Kenton Says:

      Comatus, you are right. My neighbor is a born hunter trying to evade his calling, and filled clear higher to the brim with a lot of Boulder EnviroGreen drivel. So he can’t bring himself to … kill … a deer. But he brings them home when he finds them by the road. Using the first of these, I taught him how to bone a deer without field-dressing it, and then how to butcher it. Even leaving the thoracic and intestinal cavities untouched, and even though it had died on a night when it was 0F, that deer was nasty, and I declined to teach him how to eat it. The second one he hung and skinned, realized immediately the hide was off that it should be his gift to the Eaters of the Dead, and dragged it off into the woods for them.

    49. Simon Kenton Says:

      Dan, if you will permit me a minor correction…. You don’t need one of those crossbows. The Family needs one of those crossbows.

    50. Jack Says:

      One significant factor contributing to the presence of deer herds in the subdivisions near my home in Pennsylvania is that people no longer allow their dogs out unleashed. When you do see dogs, they’re being walked by their owner, who’s assiduously gathering the dog’s poo in a plastic bag.

      When I was a kid, there were always ‘neighborhood dogs’ running around. They’d make their rounds through the development to visit each other and play with the kids. These weren’t stray dogs, they were domestic dogs that lived in the neighborhood. The benefit of this was that they’d mark trees and otherwise make their presence known so that deer very rarely entered the neighborhood – and this was a development very near farms and expanses of wooded lands.

      But with further development came urbanites and their morbid fear of dog poo, and unleashed dogs. So they’ve mitigated the dog problem but have found themselves inundated with deer.

    51. Dan from Madison Says:

      Simon – correct you are, sir.

    52. jerryofva Says:

      I live in Arlington County Virginia, an area as urbanized as Northwest DC. I have seen foxes, racoons, deer and in the depths of last winter my female coonhound and I were shadowed by a coyote going on his nightly garbage run. Now that we are back on standard time at least once a walk my dog’s prey alarm goes off. I am working on getting a second coonhound to make sure that the cute little Walt Disney creatures stay away from my immediate neighborhood.

    53. Stretch Says:

      Another Northern Virginia report from Herndon: Red fox in side yard, deer all over town and a decided traffic hazard. The W&OD Bike Trail is commuter route for coyote packs. Red tail hawks sit on road signs waiting for road kill along Rt. 7, Dulles and Greenway Toll Roads. On the bright side the geese population is lower since coyote showed up. Also suspect our Hispanic immigrants have a deeper appreciation of nature’s bounty as do the Twin City Hmong. An officemate has an annual goose diner. He lives next to a local golf course. I don’t ask. He doesn’t tell. Coon, ‘possum and skunk regular features of Road Kill Café. Have found their teeth marks on trash can. Bungee cords a must.

    54. Chris Says:

      Miles,

      you are absolutely correct about the cougar sighting in Olathe…it was my sister’ neigborhood to be exact..out around the 150th st. area of Olathe. It killed her friends Chihuahua right in the back yard and made off with it for lunch. I happened to be in town visiting when it all happened.

      Jay,

      Do you live in the midtown area? My brother lives just east of Nelson Atkins on the MO side…Campbell St. to be exact.

      Jay and Miles,

      We’ll have to organize some sort of Chicagoboyz “outpost” gathering the next time I am in KC.

    55. Carl from Chicago Says:

      One time I was in Winnetka in the super-tony northern suburbs of Chicago when a red fox walked down the yard near where I lived and encountered a cat outdoors and the cat really took it too him. Of all the animals that impact the environment don’t forget the cat. In Australia they took great pains to ban cats from parts of the country because they just decimated the local bird population. They make great hunters, especially if they are non-native and the locals have no defenses.