March 22, 2023

One PPH Reader: Cut Down More Trees to Increase Deer Population

For what it’s worth, over the years residents of Maine have been told that the reasons there is such a poor deer herd in many parts of the state are because (and in no particular order): Severe winters, loss of habitat, destruction and loss of deer wintering areas, poaching and perhaps an occasional depredation (said with tongue nicely inserted into depth of right cheek) by a bear, coyote/wolf, bobcat, lynx and/or mountain lion. Never, in my recollection, has anyone suggested cutting down more trees to increase the number of deer…..directly.

I should, however, point out that there is legitimate debate as to whether proper logging practices – proper in the sense of better wildlife management – would provide better feed. I don’t believe that lack of feed is a problem. At this point spending time and effort to provide more feed for deer would be akin to me setting up feed stations all across Maine to feed the elusive down-hill-side-badger.

As silly as all this sounds, a person actually did write the Portland Press Herald and suggested, “it’s time to “cut” a few trees, thus increasing feed opportunities” and further suggested that, “Large forest growth contributes to the lack of deer.”

Well, not really but…..well, really? I think if the argument was that Maine has a sufficient population of deer but lack of feed, then perhaps cutting more trees would be in order. But that isn’t the problem. The problem is there aren’t any deer to begin with. We must address that problem first, and we are not in any serious way.

And on a related note, it has been brought to our attention nearly one year ago, that those hundreds of thousands of acres of forests, clear cut because of the spruce budworm, will be mature within the next 15 years. Then what?