LETTERS: Be considerate of our deer

But do not forget the health of our forests

To the Expositor:

We read numerous articles regarding the health of our deer, especially during a winter like this one. We don’t, however see anything written on the health of our local forests. 

We have lived in Northern Ontario for 45 years, with the last 23 in Whitefish Falls.

Winters like this one are nature’s way of controlling deer populations. As the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) staff remind us, we are not doing the deer any long term favours by feeding them anything other than their natural foods (cedar etc.) 

When we moved here in 1995, the only thing we had to be concerned about was leaving our newly planted cedar bushes uncovered for the winter (learned that lesson in year No. 1). That was it. Now, there are so many deer in our area that we can’t grow anything but daffodils unless we spray it with our milk and egg mixture. They will now eat anything, because the deer population has out grown the natural food source. The “edible items” list continues to expand.

We can live with that, but our concern is that the next generation of our Forest is almost non-existent. The deer are devouring any little seedling that sticks its head above the ground. Once our mature trees die off, there won’t be maple, birch, oak, beech etc. growing up to replace that canopy. We are seniors, so we won’t see that transition, but our grandchildren or great grandchildren will. Whitefish Falls and other Manitoulin areas would lose their charm if all that grew was scrappy shrubs and the odd little deformed softwood.

By feeding the deer we are making them dependent on an un-natural food source and are just prolonging the problem. Let nature control the populations its own way. 

As the Deer Save volunteers and MNRF staff regularly and wisely remind us, “Please don’t feed the deer anything but its natural cedar browse food source.”

The March 6 editorial stated “The road to hell is paved with good intentions—so let’s not make the deer population suffer just so we can make ourselves feel good and noble.”

By respecting the advice from our deer experts, we will also be keeping our forests healthy, and will ensure that the same beautiful mix of mature trees that we currently enjoy will be there for our future residents.

Thank you,

Eric Bukowicki

Whitefish Falls