When you think you have control over a population of animals on your property, you’re heading for disappointment. Nature is designed to end surplus and if you don’t step in when a surplus is available, something else will.
We found this out a few years ago when we had a rather unusal buck on our property. He was so unusual that we named him the high-horn buck. High-horn, lasted a few years and when we finally decided he was about large enough to shoot, he dissapeared. We believe he wandered onto the neighboring property, or maybe somebody decided to poach him. We’ll never know for sure.
Last summer we had two nice bucks hanging around and we could probably killed the largest of the two if we chose to, but we elected to pass and now the two bucks are just one. The largest has vanished and we believe a lion got him. Our deer numbers are down significantly – just when we thought we had a bunch of deer, numbers have dwindled.
When a lion is working the area deer become less visible. Some have been killed, other have moved to nearby neighborhoods and the remaining deer are quite reclusive and nervous.
Now that the second large buck is living alone, he may be vulnerable to a lion attack like his buddy. He’s a nice buck, but there’s nothing about him to entice us to shoot him this early in the season. We may have regrets before the season is out.
As we walked the perimeter of one of our ponds, photographing frogs and salamanders, we came upon the bones of a small buck Rob had seen at the pond a couple weeks ago.
It’s just a fact that you can’t stockpile deer, especially when (in California) you have no legal way to manage lions to increase deer numbers.