Young buck shot

One of our most frequently asked questions is if we have a problem with deer. I can very clearly remember being able to say cheerfully, “No – we don’t!” Even though when I said it I always crossed my fingers and knocked wood, and always had compassion for other gardeners’ woes and tried not to gloat, over the last probably 5 or so years, I’m now sorry to say that the deer have finally clued in that this is prime real estate. They have nosed around our tulips eating a few buds here and there, tromped through garden beds as if they were pathways, munched hosta like salad greens and sampled a few shrubs and vines, but nothing (yet – knock wood) has been completely demolished. I know we’re very lucky.

That said, this fall a buck moved in. He has marked his territory like a cat does, though much more destructively, by rubbing his antlered scent glands on a few young trees. And of course this doesn’t do the trees any good at all. He has scraped clear through the bark to the tender cambium, wrecking the tree’s ability to transport water from the roots to its leaves. If he had rubbed around the circumference, the trees would surely die. As it is they may not be able to fully recover and thrive and some are young enough that even a little damage is too much, sadly.

I caught the blurry Sasquatch-like shot of our fellow leaving the property around mid-day. That’s an unusual time for a sighting but I think he may have been flushed from his bed by the machinery (if not the machinations) of Fred and Dan blowing leaves near the summerhouse. I know they are worried about Blithewold’s trees and would be glad to see the backside of our buck, gone for good.

Do you have a problem with deer in your garden too?