Friday, September 25, 2015

When I Lived in Oregon, We Knew How to Deal With This

A town in southern Oregon will hold a public meeting to discuss how to deal with droves of fearless deer that wander the streets, occasionally acting aggressively toward residents, state wildlife officials said on Tuesday.

The "Deer Summit 2015" will be chaired on Wednesday by Ashland Mayor John Stromberg as part of efforts to address deer that have stalked people, pawed at them with their hooves and even stomped on small dogs.

"The deer have no fear of humans," said Mark Vargas, District Wildlife Biologist for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Deer that have not been hunted don't develop a lot of fear of humans.
The confident deer are a product of a long tradition in the town of 21,000 people of feeding and befriending them, Vargas said.
So they're "welfare deer."
For the last two or three decades, the black tailed deer have been known to roam into yards and stroll the downtown area of Ashland, which lies in the heavily forested foothills of the Siskiyou and Cascade Mountains.

"Deer just live there," Vargas said. "They live amongst all the people and when that happens there's going to be conflict."
I lived in Oregon as a graduate student for more years than I care to recount, and brother Ted and I filled our freezers with Black Tailed Deer that we hunted on family land down in Southern Oregon near Roseburg. As near as I remember, the locals had no particular reverence for the deer, and deer season was long, and fairly generous. Hunting does was not only permitted but encouraged.

However, Roseburg is not Ashland, which is best known for it's annual Shakespeare festival. While I doubt the bard would turn his nose up at a venison steak, my guess is that the artsy fartsy community in Ashland is not as broadminded. Oh well, it's their problem, not mine.

The deer around here are plenty bold too. It's too hard to hunt among the houses, so deer graze more or less at will. I saw a deer stare down a woman walking a large dog the other day, not willing to leave it's Hostas.

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