I live in the suburbs of Cincinnati, OH on 1 1/2 acres of the 3 acres my parents bought in 1963. At that time we moved in from the country; where there was still a bounty on foxes and crows. However, there were still a handful of truck (vegetable) farms scattered around our new township. The old farmers eventually died-off and the land was taxed to the point where it was sold by the heirs for subdivision developments (more overall tax revenue for the township). Today, any open land remaining here is either parks or “green space.” For over 20 years my township has used a voted-in and renewed tax levy to purchase and patrol scattered small pieces of land. Our area has long been a favorite place to live for corporate transfers. These people seem to like to vote in neat sounding tax increasing programs, before being transferred somewhere else presumably to do the same thing there. All those “neat sounding” tax levies make it difficult for long-term residents of modest means to continue living here. This area has now been built-out about as far as it can be; with the majority of the development being single family homes located on cul-de-sac streets.
Over that same period of time an even bigger change has taken place in our local wildlife populations. Up until 1978 our wildlife species consisted of rabbits, a few squirrels, bob-white quail, possums, ground hogs, raccoons and a few rarely seen foxes. The back to back record cold blizzard years of “77” & “78” decimated the quail to the point where they are still seldom seen today. The then absence of deer and wild turkey around Cincinnati may have been the aftermath of the Great Depression, where people settled for any type of meat they could come by. As Government food assistance programs grew pressure was taken off harder to get/less appealing wild meat sources. Further, sensational children’s movies such as Bambi didn’t do anything to help encourage the next generation of hunters.
Until the mid 1980’s it was unheard of for us to see deer, wild turkey, turkey buzzards, Canadian geese (except on a rare fly-over), hawks or coyotes. And, recently there was a black bear about 15 miles east of here. I think the State reintroduced coyotes to eat fawns, but cats and small dogs are more readily available on a year round basis. Tree-rat (squirrel) infestations in the attics of some houses has become another problem. Oh well, at least we don’t have people here being eaten by protected alligators, bears or mountain lions. However, during rut a few people do get beat up by the sharp front hoofs of bucks. In domesticated market hog production, non-breeding males are castrated to help prevent boar taint odor/flavor in the meat. The meat from intact males (boars not barrows) is spread through a good bit of non-boar trimmings to avoid objectionable tastes in finished further processed pork items. How do feral hog hunters like wild boar meat from the true boars? We don’t currently have a wild hog problem around here (maybe to far north/cold) and I never hear boar-taint addressed on TV hog hunting shows.
Out in the countryside farmers suffer a lot of crop damage from deer eating food intended for humans (less sustainable agriculture). And, to add insult to injury those unwanted ruminants go around farting and burping out greenhouse gasses while farmers and ranchers are criticized for producing highly desirable domesticated European cattle. While that may sound bad, clear thinking suburbanites have it even worse. Some of my do-gooder neighbors tell me that the deer were here first then grain feed them through harsh winters that would reduced their numbers if left unsupplemented. The State says that they own the wildlife, but won’t pay for the damages they cause when vehicles hit them (increase area car insurance rates). It’s super hard to hunt in suburban neighborhoods because of the close proximity to other dwellings and because some neighbors will call the police if you try. Many of my landscape and garden plants end up feeding local deer. They even tear down my welded-wire perimeter fence as they jump over run into it.
Most suburban deer are fairly tame. I think the State should bait their deer into corrals with grain then donate the carcasses to soup kitchens. That way deer can once again be the meat of last resort. Such a course of action would be both humane (better than being hit by a vehicle and endangering its passengers) and eco-friendly (cut down on counter-productive greenhouse gas emissions).
I don’t personally enjoy eating either lamb or deer meat, but I do work to develop ways of making venison consumption more worthwhile and tasty for those that do. Deer eating ideas can be found on the Miscellaneous Meats section of the Pork & Beef Express.