Deadly Deer (5)

There are apparently 75,000 collisions between cars and deer every year in the UK. This results in 450 injuries and, the latest figures allege, as many as twenty fatalities, both drivers and passengers.
It is not surprising that these traumatic events are so frequent. The United Kingdom has more than two million deer. This represents the highest total since Saxon times:

-fallow-deer-stag-herdxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

A few years ago, there was even a muntjac deer in our staff car park, right in the middle of Nottingham:

8507_Muntjacxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

With over-browsing, deer cause enormous damage to our woodlands, and especially the birds who breed there. Too often deer consume the low vegetation which hides their nests and in general, they have a hugely negative effect on trees, shrubs, plants and flowers. This circular destruction of the bark will kill the tree:

deer-damage

Recently a group of scientists suggested that half of England’s deer should be shot to help preserve our woodland landscape. Several species are actually foreign immigrants to our countryside, namely muntjac and Chinese water deer:

Chinese_water_deer_

Another introduced species are Sika , which manage to get absolutely everywhere:

Sikadeer

Overall, this enormous population of deer causes around £4.5m worth of damage to plantations and woods in Scotland alone. In England, it is not so much the trees which suffer, as the cereal crops, mainly in east and south-west England, where deer cause £4.3m worth of financial loss annually.
I can’t find out the overall cost of deer culling but I suspect, given our successive governments’ ability to spend other people’s money, it will be approximately £14.76 squillion pounds per year.
So let’s do it for free. Here in Nottinghamshire, let’s encourage petty criminals to clear off out of the city and live in groups in the forest, armed only with bows and arrows. They could wear green for camouflage and shoot the King’s deer on a regular basis.  And on Bank Holidays why not have great big barbecues for everybody to go to ?

robin hood- heroes
And bring back the lynx. We could have every single animal sponsored by the aftershave company. Lynxes are so shy you wouldn’t even notice them in our local woodland.

lynx a

You would obviously notice Brown Bears, but so what? They eat deer by the freezer full. And furthermore, it would make enormous financial sense to have a great big bear eating the contents of all the rubbish bins in our country parks, rather than buying gigantic expensive specialised vehicles and paying humans to empty them.

image_encounters

And think of America itself. What do they have in the woods that eats deer? I’ll give you a clue. It’s totally nocturnal. It’s very shy, especially given the fact that it’s nine feet tall. You would never see them and when you did nobody would believe you. All you’d see would be a gradual diminution in the deer population.

.
If that’s a step (or should I say, a Big Foot) too far, then let’s look back a little in time to the Middle Ages.
As recently as 1433, Sir Robert Plumpton was granted a piece of land in Nottingham by King Henry VI (Parts 1-3) if he could manage to blow his horn and thereby frighten and chase away all the wolves in Sherwood Forest. The piece of land he held in Nottingham was called “Wolf Hunt Land” (The clue’s in the name). In this way Sir Robert probably helped the wolf towards its eventual extinction which occurred, supposedly, during the reign of Henry VII (or Henry VI Part Four, as he was occasionally called).
At this time, back in early fifteenth century, wolves were limited to just a few areas, anyway. Some forests in Lancashire such as Bowland, the Derbyshire Peak District and the Yorkshire Wolds.
So let’s reintroduce them now. Two million deer to cull. Let Wolfy have a go. We know that they are harmless. Two deaths in North America in 129 years? Negligible!! They’d take care of the deer problem for us:

wolf pack one

And what better sight than watching a pack of wolves  chase down a mountain bike rider over the romantic fells of the Lake District?

wolf baby

Or another pack pursuing quad bike riders in the New Forest? Perhaps a whole wolf family practicing their hunting techniques on somebody else’s badly behaved and loud mouthed kids.

eyes wolf
What’s not to like?

Just watch this video, which comes, literally, from the “HeartOfTheWilderness”:

Or if you are a child, why don’t you let the Smithsonian Channel teach you to howl like a wolf? Ideal for relieving the monotony of those tedious car drives to school. Better even than the counting songs from French lessons:

 

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23 Comments

Filed under History, Humour, Politics, Science, Wildlife and Nature

23 responses to “Deadly Deer (5)

  1. Strangely enough, John, I’ve just photographed some basking dear. From the ears and your picture above, I think they must be muntjacs.

    • The thing about muntjacs is that they are small. When my birdwatching friends and I went to Berkshire once and saw them for the first time, we all thought that some dog walker had lost their golden retrievers, because all we could see were their tawny coloured backs in the long grass. There are certainly enough muntjacs around though, Derrick, for you to have seen some.

  2. Deadly deer, but they are so beautiful. I had read that rabbits are a great menace in many places. Thank you for sharing. Your posts are always very interesting.

    • Thank you for your nice words. You are quite correct about rabbits. They quickly increase to plague proportions if left to their own devices. It happened in England in the 1950s but most of all in Australia where the English introduced them as something to shoot and they bred into their millions and did enormous harm.

  3. atcDave

    Of course a cull leads to massive protests, no matter how necessary.
    I like the bear solution. You’ll need a lot of them. But hey, bear are cute too…

    • You are absoluteiy right. When man has already interfered, careful management is always needed to try and get back to nature’s balance. We are currently trying to deal ,with Gray Squirrels, which are here in their millions, have no predators as they would in North America, and are killing lots of beautiful old trees. And I’m glad you agree with me about bears. They are a much underused resource here in England when it comes to controlling pest species.

  4. Try shipping some over here. Florida’s Key West deer are few and far between.

    • I wonder why that would be? There must be some reason that a native species should be on the decline. Over here lots of our deer are introduced species, muntjac, Sika deer and Chinese water deer for example. Having said that, the biggest pest seems to be Red Deer, the species that Robin Hood would have eaten. No predators, except the odd poacher or passing Lord of the Manor.

  5. Some interesting wild life management solutions there John!
    I remember once driving on the A52 between Grantham and Boston and having to stop sharply as a herd of deer, who had no knowledge of the Highway Code simply stampeded across the road.

    • There seem to be lots of Roe Deer out in that area. Plenty of little woods to spend the day in, and then lots of crops to eat. All in all, you were lucky not to have hit one. As you say, they are not famed for their knowledge of how to cross a busy road carefully.

  6. I’ve come close to culling a few muntjac myself with my howling Vauxhall diesel. We have those things everywhere always running across the road. Even had them in the school grounds – ok we we are in the
    Middle of the fens!

    • Twenty or thirty years ago Muntjac were very localised and quite rare but they seem to have bred very freely and are quite tolerant of people. If you’re in the Fens, keep your eyes open for Chinese Water Deer. I’ve never seen one, but they are certainly present in the western parts of East Anglia. Very tiny apparently, and, as the name suggests, they go into some very wet places.

  7. This reminds me of an incident that happened in Chennai, India. There were farms accidents and deaths being reported due to snake bites, so the government ordered to kill as many snakes as possible. The order was carried out and the snakes were killed. The farmers then realised that because of the decrease in the snake population, rodent population had increased and the rodents were spoiling the crop. So then again the government ordered to breed snakes to get rid of the rodent population.
    Every being has a role of its own.

    • You are so right! When it comes to working out the balance of Nature, Man comes a very, very poor second to Mother Nature, God, evolution, what ever you want to call this intelligence that can calculate what is the exact number of deer needed for exactly the right number of tigers.

  8. Ted

    Nature does have it’s balances. Man interferes and screws it up royally. Amazing that the Modern Animists haven’t been by with their worship claptrap or eco-freaks threatening to blow up the blog.

    Lynx area good idea, they love deer meat. The bears – nearest is the Spanish Brown Bear (nearly hunted to extinction) which are the 2nd largest brown bear on Earth, after the Kodiak. Not as temperamental as Grizzlies (just a lot bigger). Wolves, they might eat a cat and the Animists would get their knicker in a twist.Let the Lynx do it.

  9. An unintended consequence of your cyclist/predator policy could be that the surviving cyclists breed generations of quicker offspring, thus securing more Olympic medals.

    Nature is a wonderful thing.

    It will also give me some satisfaction after being run off the path by a group of middle-aged, lycra-clad hooligans at Attenborough a couple of weeks ago.

    🙂

    • The sad thing is that they do actually kill people. As a motorist, I try my hardest to help cyclists but I have no respect for them whatsoever. And I won’t have as long as they don’t respect the Highway Code or pedestrians.

      • I know what you mean – I don’t want to hurt a cyclist but as they ignore traffic lights, crossings and one way signs I can’t help thinking a spot of natural selection is in order.

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