Keep the deer – End the creeping urbanization

There comes a point in life when the thunder of traffic loses its charm. That’s when you and your family find a quiet place where skies are blue, not khaki-colored, and the only things running by your front door are children, dogs, and deer.

DangerousdeerUnfortunately for those of us who made this transition to a rural retreat, there is a new breed of settlers who want to bring their big city habitats with them.

In Lake Monticello, the latest plan on the books is to hire professional hunters to kill the deer that run wild in our thousand-acre sanctuary. The clueless planners behind this scheme feel that deer are dangerous because they get hit by cars and they eat whatever you plant.

I was so impressed with the brilliance of this plan that I wrote a letter to the editor of the Fluvanna Review. This morning, the editor called and asked if I would let them publish it. That made my morning, of course, so here is the letter in all its glory, my response to the recent efforts to "manage" our deer:

To the Editor: Keep the deer – End the creeping urbanization

We came here 2 years ago because Lake Monticello offered a truly rustic and private environment. We fell in love with the place when we saw deer wandering the streets just as they do in Pacific Grove, CA.

The increasing number of million dollar homes with manicured lawns signals a marked shift in our Lake culture. It is amazing how people will leave the tidy suburbs of New Jersey or Northern Virginia and try to recreate those suburbs in the rolling hills of Fluvanna County.

Obviously the deer have to go, because they eat the prize ornamentals that the new settlers have planted. I suppose the bears and raccoons are the next to be targeted.

Why stop with these halfway measures? Let’s cut down the trees, put in astro-turf and sidewalks. When we get done, everything will look nice and tidy, just like the places we came here to get away from.

Deer and speeders don’t mix. Since we can’t get rid of the speeders who careen down our winding roads, by all means get rid of the deer.

I do not oppose change. I question the urbanization that others seem to think is desirable.

It is a one-way transformation. Once the wildlife is gone, it won’t come back and we might as well be living in Arlington.

Gretchen and I feel that places like Floyd and Burke’s Garden, both in southwest Virginia, are looking more attractive every day. If we cannot stem the tide of this gentrification movement, they will be putting in sidewalks and we will have to wear designer jeans when working in the yard.

Are we alone in experiencing this? Is anyone else seeing this gradual transformation to suburban conformity?

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