Bambi and her mom and dad are loved by the granola-munching, Prius driving crowd. Me, not so much. As far as I’m concerned, they’re a bunch of overgrown rats too stupid to run from things that harm them, like cars. One of them deliberately rammed my car one time after I slowed down to let him cross the road.
Then there is their eating habits. They seem to love the things that grow in my yard, particularly things humans also like to eat. Like tomatoes and lettuce. They’ll jump in and start munching away, eating anything that they feel might be tasty. “Daffodils? Nah, man, no thanks,” they might say. They also won’t touch weeds if there’s lettuce around, the little jerks.
You’d think this would build a little animosity in my heart towards these gentle creatures, and you’d be perfectly correct. Compound it with the fact that whenever any of my three dogs see them in the yard they start going nuts, barking madly in an attempt to both scare them off and let us know that they need to be hunted for food. The latter is not as easy as you might think in a backyard of known distance. From back door to treeline is only about 25 yards, and I’m well-zeroed at that range with my M1A. But four things conspire against me and my valiant efforts to reduce the population of deer for the greater good.
First, there’s Louisa County. While almost every other county in Virginia allows for cartridge firearms, all hunting in Louisa must be done with a muzzleloader if the caliber is greater than .22. So in other words, unless you’re hunting squirrels or rabbits, you have to use a frontstuffer. This would let me take but one deer a year from my backyard, for if a deer saw his pal get shot you’d think he would not come back for the salt lick, no matter how tasty.
Second, there’s the neighbors. They’re just a bit too close for comfort when it comes to letting lead fly, and the neighborhood association down the street likes to complain when they hear gunshots, even if the firing is far from their little enclave of self-righteous tyranny that is the modern Home Owners Association.
Then there’s the deer themselves. Someone nails a calendar to the tree every year when hunting season starts, because I don’t think I’ve seen a buck in my yard in the month of November. There’s the occasional doe, but never on doe hunting days. It’s like they know exactly when I would prefer to kill them from my backyard and they deliberately avoid it.
Finally, there’s my own skill in the field. I’m quite good at shooting, but I’m also remarkable for my tracking skills. At least, remarkable in the lack thereof. I can track animals, in broad daylight, if they’ve walked by after a recent rain with a bad case of the runs, but aside from that? Not so good.
So I must content myself with the fact that a deer herd will likely not approach my garden if it is close to the house and protected by a four foot suggestion of a fence. And perhaps think about getting a suppressor for the M1A and unilaterally extending the hunting season into October – Walter Mitty style, of course.