Why Are There So Many Deer?
Current deer population levels
When I was a youngster, I spent as much time in the woods as possible, but I never saw a wild deer. Now, I count myself lucky if I go a whole day without seeing a deer. The beasts eat my garden down to the roots, chop the limbs off my young apple trees, and generally make a nuisance of themselves.
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Even so, the deer problem here in southwest Virginia is not quite as bad as folks have it a few hundred miles north. In 2001, I spent a year working on a preserve in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia where the deer population hovered around 45 deer per square mile. I was shocked by the deer browse line in the park’s forest --- every plant within deer reach had been decimated. Oak forests were turning into Red Maple forests since deer nibbled every oak seedling nearly as soon as it poked out of the ground while leaving Red Maples alone.