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Oh Deer, There Goes the Neighborhood

When I tell people that we have a lot of deer in town, I’m not exaggerating. They seem to be everywhere. At times, they are pests and they will happily reduce home gardens to stubble. Sometimes they can also be a hazard because they often walk right across streets and are oblivious of traffic. Most times, they are beautiful to watch.

We are situated right at a boundary between white-tailed deer country and mule deer country, so we often see both. I’m aware that not everyone has the fortune (or misfortune, depending on your viewpoint and what they happen to be munching on) to see deer close up. The following are pictures I took of deer in our neighborhood, mostly from our home. As you’ll see, the deer are alert and aware, but not especially bothered by people. That includes me when I was taking the pictures.

All of the deer pictured are part of our local herd that resides in town and in the surrounding area.

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Written by Rex Trulove

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19 Comments

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  1. I wish I could sit by a window or on a porch & have the pleasure of watching deer
    & wild animals go about their way & be free from predators, or even have the
    pure pleasure of watching wolves & wild dogs roam about, as you can tell I’m a
    animal lover that loves to watch the wild.

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  2. This a superb post and enjoyed reading it. Its really interesting to read about these animals. I think today, the deer would thrive here and the grass is really long.
    However, got a few people here who would probably shoot them and have them for diner.
    Not nice but people just want food on the table and if it’s going spare, they will do that
    On Cornwall park they have sheep there and I would not be surprised if overnight they disappear. I don’t think they would they would mess with the beef cattle, the mothers or bulls would kill them.

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    • There is some poaching that goes on here, too. However, if a person gets caught, the penalties are severe. One person a year or two ago was caught poaching and got a fine of $1100, loss of fishing and hunting privileges for 5 years, the rifle was confiscated, and since the guy’s new pickup was used to transport the deer, the pickup was also confiscated. He would have done jail time on top of all of that but got 3 years probation. Any law violation in that 3 years would cause the probation to be revoked and he’d need to do the jail time.

      Hunting and fishing are two of the 5 biggest revenue generators in Montana and they don’t take violations lightly. He was actually lucky. He poached outside of town and away from any houses. Those would have been even more charges against him.

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        • That is less likely to happen here, at least in Montana and when it comes to wild game. Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks has considerable clout when it comes to enforcement of laws relating to wildlife. In part, that is because the citizens want it that way. One of the things that make Montana so special is the wildlife and we know it. A majority of the poaching and so forth is done by people from out of state or those who very recently moved here.

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  3. A neat post. Though I would love to visit and see them in a town like that living in close proximity to them would be more troublesome to me than I would consider it worth. Especially the tick and flea problems they could present. Living in the southern USA and having lived through Rocky Mountain Spotted fever years ago, I stay aware of such animals potential to share diseases, but in more northern places that may not be a year round problem.

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    • The deer do harbor fleas and ticks, but so do dogs, cats, cougars, bobcats, lynxes, elk, and just about every other warm-blooded critter we have around here. It isn’t bad in the winter and deer will occasionally even roll in the snow if there is a bad infestation. Fleas and ticks can’t take the cold. Housepets that get to go outside, like dogs, are actually a bigger vector for fleas and ticks than the deer are. Still, there is a reason they call it ROCKY MOUNTAIN spotted fever. We live in the Rockies. :))

      Some years are much worse than others, especially after mild winters, which don’t happen often. Of the last 5 years, only one winter was relatively mild by Montana standards. It only dipped below zero three times and rained more than it snowed. (That was the winter of 2015 and it followed an extremely bitter winter in 2014, when we hit -53 F and it went for an entire week without getting above 0 F.)

      • Didn’t realize Montana could go -53º! If we could get a dip that low we might be able to get rid of some of the bugs, but then there would just be new issues. C’est la vie in this fallen world. Yes, it is all of the critters that carry the pests and their pestilences, poor things, but in most areas of south we fight it all pretty much year round. The smaller critters keep even city folk fighting the risks.

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        • Temperatures that low are the exception, rather than the rule. Temperatures of -20 are more common. It got down to -10 night before last and -3 last night. Our high-temperature today might reach 25 above. This weather is more usual in the first part of February rather than the last part and it means that March will almost certainly be coming in snowy and cold. The jet stream has dipped to near Texas, so this cold will gradually be moving east. In the southeast, that will probably mean a few more bouts of rain, but nice warm weather for several days.

          Weather like this does control fleas and ticks somewhat. Two years ago, there was a bad tick problem and we could scarcely go walking in the woods without picking up a tick. They were everywhere. The deer weren’t responsible, they were victims. The conditions were just right for lots of ticks.

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