September 21, 2005

More Deer Posting

Death to Bambi! (YOU think I'm kidding....)

The comments I got in response to my fuming about the damn, dirty deer attacking my garden prompted me to do a quick google search on deer-control in Fairfax County, VA. Seek and ye shall find.

Some choice Q&A:

How many deer live in Fairfax County? Deer live in just about every area of the County. Although it is not possible to know exactly how many deer live within the County's boundaries, population studies are conducted on an ongoing basis. These studies indicate that as many as 400 deer per square mile can be found in western parts of the County and that as many as 100 deer per square mile can be found within the County's urban sections. Science tells us that ideal deer densities are 15-20 deer per square mile of suitable habitat. Unfortunately, many of the areas in which large deer herds are found contain low levels of suitable habitat due to the large number of deer and deer overbrowsing. Stream valleys and natural wooded areas of the County that have little undergrowth and relatively few native, hardwood seedlings are likely populated by a large number of deer.

We live in a pretty heavily wooded area of half-acre lots. The population of the herd living in the woods behind my house seems to run anywhere between 15 and 20 animals per year.

What does a deer eat? White-tailed deer feed primarily on leaves, buds, twigs and nuts. They also enjoy ornamental plants in residential communities such as hostas, daylilies and azaleas. An average deer eats between 5-8 pounds of plants a day.

A more accurate answer would be "damn near anything that's green".

How can I keep deer from eating my garden and the shrubs and flowers in my yard? While some plants may be less enjoyable to deer, the food palette of urban deer is evolving and expanding. Also, damage will vary depending upon availability of other food choices.

Consult local nurseries regarding plant varieties not favored by deer. Some of these include:
Common Boxwoods
Colorado Blue Spruce
Red Osier Dogwoods
Scots Pine
Common lilac
Ornamental Grasses
Tarragon and wormwood
Virginia Bluebells
Lilly of the Valley

Install fences. A resource for information on fencing options can be found at:

Some residents have found it helpful to hang wrapped bar soap in the affected area. The brand of soap does not appear to make a difference. Hotel style bars work as well as full sized bars of soap.

Keep dogs present in the area.

Contact local nurseries for information on deer repellent products currently coming on the market.

Note: While human hair may have been an effective deterrent in the past, may residents have found this technique is no longer effective. Urban deer have become comfortable co-existing with humans. Wild animals become acclimated to deterrents. A varied program with several components will be more effective than a single preventive method.

Everybody's got a favorite defense, but they all sooner or later confess that it doesn't work very well. Even the dog, unless it's outside 24/7. The deer simply get used to the smell and wait till Fido's inside.

Why isn't the County pursuing methods to reduce deer fertility? Immunocontraception as a method of birth control is being used to control deer population among confined herds on an experimental basis. This method consists of injecting female deer with a protein or hormone released through darts or biobullets. To be effective, two injections must be administered during the first breeding season followed by a booster every year. The County is not using this method at the present time for four main reasons:

To date, there is no known technique to locate, approach and dart a majority of the female deer in a free ranging herd. Each deer would also have to be tagged for identification purposes to avoid accidental multiple doses. Darting of deer would need to take place on an annual basis through the County.

The County’s use of this experimental method requires partnering with a university or other research organization to test this method and no partner has been identified at this time.

The effectiveness of this method is currently limited to confined herds.

There are no State policies or regulations that would allow the County to use this method non-experimentally.

They sure aren't doing anything where I live. Our herd boasted three new fawns this year.

And now the kicker:

Is hunting deer on my property in Fairfax County possible? What do I need to do? Who do I contact?

A hunting registration for firearms use can only be approved in those areas of Fairfax County designated by the Board of Supervisors. A minimum land parcel of twenty acres is required. The 20 acres need not be under single ownership, but must form a single tract. Hunting on posted property requires written permission of the property owner; hunting on nonposted property requires verbal permission of the property owner. Contact the Department of Animal Control at (703) 830-3310 for details.

There is no minimum acreage requirement for bow hunting. However, archers must have the permission of the property owner.

Emphasis mine. Anybody out there got a bow and want some free venison?

YIPS from Steve: What? Teaching them abstinence and waiting for marriage isn't working? We're ROOOOOOOOOOME, dammit! Imperial decline!

Posted by Robert at September 21, 2005 03:49 PM | TrackBack

Several questions:
When's the season open?
Is a license required?
Will the Llamettes freak out if I field dress bambi in the front yard?
Aren't Llamas and Deer related?

Have you tried mixing a solution of 5 eggs per gallon of water and then spraying it on your plants. It worked at my folks house to keep them out of the azaleas and blue berry bushes.

Are cross bows legal?
When can I head up and bust an arrow in bambi's ass?

Posted by: phin at September 21, 2005 04:08 PM

They are tasty, too!

Posted by: Robohobo at September 21, 2005 04:37 PM

Can't you just claim self-defense? I've seen dead deer on the parkway, in D. freakin' C. itself. They are a menace to drivers, and there are more deer now than when Columbus bumped into the Western Hemisphere.

Posted by: rbj at September 21, 2005 04:39 PM

What phin said!

On the other hand, is there a rule against silencers?

Us red-state gun toting rednecks know a trick or two.

Posted by: Vinnie at September 21, 2005 08:21 PM

Bastard animals. Get the gun, get the gun, shootshootshootshoot...

Posted by: GroovyVic at September 21, 2005 08:45 PM

You wrote:

"A more accurate answer would be "damn near anything that's green".

An even more accurate answer would be "damn near everything, period." Ever see what these cute little bastards do to young trees?

Deer are long-legged mice on steroids with lyme disease tossed in as a bonus.

Happy hunting.

Posted by: Dave at September 22, 2005 10:43 AM

Oh yeah deer at one time some nit-wits from the urban areas were saying its having bambi in you back yards now they,ve become rats with antlers my my how things change when these morons get a real look at these animals and the deer are going to attrct predators like MOUNTIAN LIONS,BEARS,and WOLVES better forget this disneyland stuff this is real nature not a disney film THIS IS NOT BAMBI NIT WITS ITS REAL

Posted by: spurwing plover at September 24, 2005 04:41 PM

Phin, season was open when you asked.. Urban archery season will open again Jan 9-March 10. (And, I think, you can use archery tackle during firearm season in Fairfax county which is Nov 19-Jan something or other, I think.)
Yes, as of this year, Virginia treats crossbows the same as any other bow. You just need to get a crossbow permit/license. (and hunting license and deer permit... total cost around $175 for a non resident, about $50 for a resident)

Posted by: NateG at October 5, 2005 12:49 PM