Wildlife Wars

Life in the country offers certain challenges when it comes to gardening. Between the deer and the gophers, the battles are endless. They always win. Always.

Once I left the gate open on the chicken yard while the poultry was out cruising the lawn for insects and downed plums. I was crusing the shrubbery with a gun to shoot the neighbor’s poorly behaved dogs. The next thing I know there’s a deer in the chicken yard, settling down for the day. Ungulates are not the smartest of beasts, but really?

I’ve changed tactics. Assuming I can utilize anatomical approaches they cannot (I flick my opposable thumbs), I am developing new strategies. Fencing and gates seem the best approach, at least for the deer, but the gophers may require gravel and concrete barriers. Good thing they don’t burrow through wood or they’d be in the damn living room.

Don’t get me wrong, I like the wildlife. Deer, elk, bear, cougar, coyote, geese, eagles, ravens, hawks, osprey, possum, raccoon, snakes, rodents of every size and shape don’t begrudge sharing the landscape. If they can cope, I should be able to. We’ve accidently provided two dozen chickens over the years to the gleeful coyotes just to mix things up.

The biggest problem is that whole circle-of-lfe, food chain thingy.

Deer are opportunistic. They will eat anything, even the things they refused to eat last year, especially the things they refused to eat the last time around are now at the top of the preferred dining menu. The latest casualty was the hydrangea. According to the nursery man, northwest deer have developed a taste for popular landscape plants.

Well duh.

If it’s in the landscape, it’s fodder. Everything is fair game, including apparently, the front bumper of my car which must be mighty tasty for some bizarre reason.

I do admit that I look forward to the return of one buck each year (I’m assuming it’s the same one). He’s a little on the simple side, seems to think that if he stands very still we can’t see him. This doesn’t work so well when he’s blocking the path to the door and he has to be poked out of the way. He also enjoys sleeping under the deck, a project that is more of a challenge now that he’s matured.

Last year he was kind enough to drop an antler in the yard. I’m hoping for two this year.

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