Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Farm vs. Wildlife

While out walking the dogs, I found this roe doe hanging in a newly erected fence -

Sadly, she had been dead for awhile before I found her. Even if I had found her alive, her ankle was snapped in the tangle and I would have had to kill her anyway. Poor thing. Hanging upside down isn't the kindest death.

Farmers seem to prefer fencing with two top strands of barbed wire; it keeps cattle from leaning over the fences, weakening or breaking the posts, and creating repairs that cost farmers time and money. I understand that. However, we are finding two or three deer every year hung up in fences like this. The deer attempts to jump, catches a toe on the top strand of wire, which bends and traps their foot, or feet, between the wire and the sheep netting. 

We're doing our best to keep the deer numbers in check, so the deer aren't pressured to move all the time and forced to cross fences. It helps somewhat, but certainly doesn't solve the problem. In this case, wildlife loses out to farming.

I wish I had a solution that made everyone happy, including the deer.


janice bendixen said...

Oh, a sad sight indeed. If my dog can growl and whimper in her sleep, I'm certain deer can experience fear and anguish. Did she at least go to Ice Camp so that her death (and life) served some more dignified purpose?

Jennifer Montero said...

Janice - If we don't get to the carcase within 4 hours of death, it's no good for food. This girl was well past that. It's an upsetting sight, but not everything that happens in the countryside is bucolic. I want to be honest and show all sides.

Harvest Kitchen Sisters said...

That is a sad sight indeed. I would feel upset if I was the farmer in this situation. She would have had a slow and painful death and I am surprised that a coyote didn't find her. I don't have that type of fencing here on my farm but if I did I would make sure to walk it regularly...with a gun if need be.


Hazel said...

We found a deer in a similar position, but still alive, so a friend despatched her and we did have a leg. Horrible, but at least not wasted.
Luckily she was on the other side of the fence to us, as it was because our dogs showed an interest that we saw her.

Jennifer Montero said...

Part of the problem is that we don't have higher level predators like coyotes in our system. Of course, I'm grateful of this fact at lambing time.

We have nearly 3,000 acres to cover, but a lot is public footpath and they're good at helping us keep watch too.

Jennifer Montero said...

Hazel - I'm glad you were able to make use of your poor find, and that you got there before the dogs!

Virginia said...

Since neither you (nor presumably the dogs) could have used her for food, what did you do? Compost? Left for scavengers?

Jennifer Montero said...

It wasn't ours to deal with. We had to contact the farmer whose land it was on, and their deer stalker. I don't know what the farmer did with the carcase, but I expect it was incinerated or buried.