Gruesome Garden Mystery: The Deer Fence Let a Dead One In

So yesterday I put up the deer fence around the garden. I didn’t get around to pegging the bottom of the netting to the soil, but did bravely transplant my broccoli.

This morning when I went to check on my baby brassicas, I was very surprised to see the leg and hoof of a deer lying next to my tender greens!

Deer leg and broccoli
The leg of a deer in my garden, next to the broccoli.

There was no sign of damage, and no clear tracks that would help me identify who brought in this offering. It obviously wasn’t a vegetarian, as there had been no nibbling on the luscious leaves. And it couldn’t have been a very large animal.

What an ironic reminder that despite my efforts, I’m not totally in charge here, and the deer will get into my garden one way or another, dead or alive!

Update: I found a tear in the netting on the other side of the rhubarb that could have been from the stress of a raccoon, perhaps, pushing its bulk under the netting by the broccoli. There has also been a fox around, who may have wanted to bury the leg, and was attracted by the freshly-dug earth.  I should think that a raccoon would have done more damage.

Another morning wildlife guest

Photo taken in a hurry through the screened basement window.

Like the fox last week, this raccoon came up the road from Oak Island, saw the houses up ahead and decided the woods behind our house were a better bet.

In six years of living here, it’s the first raccoon I’ve seen.

A neighbour told me he saw a black bear just down the road about five years ago. He figures it was just passing through, as he hasn’t seen or heard tell of one around here since.

But over 1000 black bears were killed by registered hunters in Nova Scotia in 2009. So they are around.

The 2009 deer harvest in Lunenburg Co., which has been increasingly plagued by deer ticks in recent years, was the highest in the province:  3,104.  Many gardeners will be relieved to hear this news.  But it won’t stop me from putting a deer fence around the garden again. I recently saw 4 or 5 white-tailed deer in our backyard.

Department of Natural Resources personnel examine roadkill to see what shape the animals are in.  In the winter of 2008, they found that a high proportion of deer were experiencing malnutrition and starvation.  So the 10,280 deer bagged by hunters across the province was less than the previous year, according to the Truro Daily News, as fewer permits were issued to hunters for antler-less deer.

A foxy visitor

An unusual visitor

We get a lot of wildlife where we live, but this was our first sighting of a fox. It came down the road, crossed our front yard and disappeared into the woods. I was lucky to get a photo at all. My husband saw it later the same morning, going the other way.