Outside: Oh deer

My Father, now retired, was a Senior Conservation Educator with the N.Y.S. Conservation Dept. for 22 years and then held the position of Wildlife Manager for the Island of Guam prior to retirement in the Finger Lakes Region of New York State, where he now resides with my Mother. Growing up, I witnessed, first hand, the results of over population of the White-tailed Deer through Spring mortality surveys. The results were mass starvation and epizootics of herds in winter stockyards while depleting the vegetation over their browse range.

As a Registered Landscape Architect, in the horticulture field for more than 40 years, I have constantly battled the results of over-browsed range, which forces the deer to "selectively prune" residential and institutional landscapes. This is "big money in the belly," and would be less severe if the herds were culled to ecologically sound numbers.

Conservation of our natural environment is based on a keen sense of stewardship for land and its wildlife. This balance is now upset and needs corrective measures. I wish all that support the "Bambi image," could partake in but one Spring deer mortality survey to see dead pregnant doe's with full stomachs of non-nutritional food and twin fawns silent in the embryo. This is no way to let Mother Nature cull the herd. As responsible stewards of the land, we need to step up and help. The product would be a healthier herd that can breed, live, and die as these mammals did in the days of the Native Americans!

Scott Drahos grew up on his family's farm in Aurora, which is now the site of McKensie Childs Pottery. A retired army reservist and registered landscape architect, he has relocated back to CNY and now resides in Skaneateles. Reach him at psdrahos@gmail.com.

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