Deer grazing next to my deck

The Lake County Game Warden, who must autopsy deer he finds in yards or along sides of roads, reported to Mentor City Council earlier this year that a 4-year-old Whitetail Deer in Mentor weighs 50-60 pounds, while a 4-year-old Whitetail in Madison weighs 100-120 pounds.

Deer grazing at the edge of Santoli Pond

This deer wandered in with the one at the deck,  No sign of robust good health here, either.

In desperation, and much to the annoyance of gardeners, every year deer are eating plants they’ve never eaten in the past.  Unfortunately for the deer, they’re eating foods their digestive systems have never evolved to tolerate.

If the enzymes and bacteria needed to digest the food aren’t present, the food can’t pass through the four chambers of deer’s stomachs.  The result?  Well, imagine yourself trying to digest tree bark and not being able to regurgitate it.

Though I’m not capable of pulling the trigger or sending an arrow into these animals, I’m grateful to the men and women who will begin culling deer in Mentor later this year.

City council and administrators examined other courses of action and concluded culling was the only viable solution to the problem.

Currently, the only effective means of deer population control in Mentor are cars and trucks.

For reasons of cost and the unintended consequences of sterilization, sterilizing wild animals has been illegal in Ohio and in most states for decades.

We no longer have sufficient numbers of wolves, bears, bobcats, coyotes or cougars in the state to keep deer numbers in check.

The argument in defense of the deer’s right to be here because we destroyed their habitat isn’t valid.  In reality, what we destroyed was the deer’s predators’ habitat.

In 1970, there were 17,000 deer in the state of Ohio.  Today there are over 750,000.

That increase in the population didn’t happen because we destroyed the deer’s habitat.  It happened because deer keep on “doin’ what comes natcherly.”

No, I don’t have the chops to thin out the deer herd myself.

But neither do I have the chops to see these beautiful animals reduced to the sorry specimens we see daily in Mentor.

I thank our Mentor administrators and council members for their efforts over the last two years to institute a deer culling program.

It’s a bold step that will keep it Better in Mentor–for deer as well as for the rest of us.

    To view how deer are destroying our natural habitat, go to



  1. crystal thomas

    Why don’t we put you out in the woods and cut down all the places you have to live and see how you eat and live. Running from your home on a day to day basis and trying to find another place for sable shelter. When they cut don trees and shrubs they are in fact destroying the meals of these animals, then they have to go to people gardens and shrubs for their food. They need to have a place to live as well as you and I do. Stop building new buildings when there are plenty that need fixed up and rented out. What a waste of money to build new and tear down the older one just repair.

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