Some disturbing news came out in an article on Popular Science’s website this past week: DEER EATING HUMANS! Grab your gun and protect your family!
If you haven’t read the article yet, you can find it here: Forensic scientists caught a deer munching on a human carcass for the first time ever
OK, now that I’ve gotten your attention, let’s get serious. The study was done by forensic scientists to showcase what it looks like when wild predators break down a human corpse. They placed a donated human body in the woods and set up a trail camera to see what animals did different damage they could identify. What they found was that multiple deer (or one deer multiple times) chewed on the ends of rib bones.
This isn’t some new strain of disease affecting the whitetail deer population. Scientists have seen this before. What they assume is that the deer are chewing on these bones for the bone marrow and minerals. This isn’t a common occurrence...so, what does it mean to us? Habitat issues.
All animals, deer included, will only switch up their food source for 2 reasons: Changing availability and nutritional needs. For deer, a ungulate, to scavenge from a corpse, there has to be an issue the nutrition available in their habitat. This is as pure of a sign as there can be that there are problems.
What is the problem? There are too many deer for the habitat. How can they be fixed? The two ways to fix this is to either remove some of the deer or improve/enhance the habitat. As hunters, we would like to see a combination of both. To fix the issue in the short term, remove as many deer as necessary so the overall health of the herd improves. At the same time, improve and enhance the habitat so that the area has a higher carrying capacity for the long term.
This study showcases the need for conservation efforts along with hunting. Why both? Because hunters are the backbone of conservation efforts and funding. Do your part to keep your local herd healthy. It will benefit you, your neighbors, and the herd.