Suburban “Crop Damage”

My crossbow whining at the window.

Four-hooved Locusts. Rats with Antlers. Damnbi. Brown Traffic Cones. Insert your favorite derogatory term. One man’s trophy game is another man’s nuisance pest. Whitetail Deer fit all of these descriptions, depending upon your location.

This summer they were no better than rats in my yard. I was seething with anger and disappointment at times. I don’t normally care if the local deer herd eats from the apple tree in my yard – there’s enough for all of us, and I can only make so much apple sauce. But I tried growing green beans in containers outside this year for the first time, and also plum tomatoes. I awoke several mornings this summer to devastation of my crop. I would inspect the almost-ready veggies when I got home from work in the evening – intending to harvest them the next afternoon – only to find nothing left but chewed vines when I went back outside in the morning.

The deer didn’t just eat off the green beans, they ate virtually the entire plant – leaves and all! They also ate the cluster of pretty Roma tomatoes that I’d been watching with eager anticipation for several weeks. I get that this wasn’t expensive shrubbery, and admittedly it wasn’t a subsistence crop either, but I was still PO’d!

Like many of us, I live in suburbia not out on the back forty (although I wouldn’t mind that). But as we know, deer love edge areas. I may need to invest in fencing. And perimeter towers with automatic weapons and night vision.

In addition, I propose that there needs to be such a thing as a suburban crop damage permit.

I have upstairs windows from which I could take a perfectly ethical and safe-for-the-neighborhood crossbow shot into my yard. This would provide me at least some small meat recompense (and revenge) for the damage to my tomatoes and green beans that these four-hooved locusts have wrought. Not to mention the Lyme ticks they bring with them into my yard.

So the neighbor kids might be traumatized with gut piles occasionally. They need to grow a pair anyway.

My crossbow literally paces back and forth in front of the window and whines when the deer are out there. This would be a fair thing to do for both of us.

But nope. It will never happen. Every year I have to go somewhere ELSE to hunt, while I come home to hoof prints in my driveway, ravaged bird feeders, and devastated bean plants. 

Nature and the DNR just aren’t fair.