Solving the Deer Problem
With the economic problems today, not only is there a shortage of doe, it also seems like we might be running out of bucks. While I said that tongue in cheek, buck season is coming up across most of America and the deer season may be a far greater problem than you suspect.
I know if you are a deer hunter, you will enjoy looking at some of these big racks. I remember hunting years ago in Verdi, Nevada and seeing many groups of does and not one single big buck! Coming down into that sweet little town on the Truckee River for lunch, I passed a Catholic Church and just like some of those great deer paintings you may have seen, there were seven bucks like the ones in the photographs standing in a perfect row in front of the church. Of course no one fired a shot, but I wondered how many hunters drove by that day and had to earnestly pray, “Deliver me from temptation!”
Those bucks were real and very much alive just as some of the problems are today regarding deer hunting. Before I continue, I must admit, as I have so often discovered, deer and animals in general are a whole lot more intelligent than we give them credit for.
As one of a team of leading gardening and landscape experts at Roger’s Gardens in Corona del Mar, California, just a nice walk from Deer Canyon, I regularly encountered customers who asked, “How do I keep deer out of my garden?” From San Juan Capistrano to the colony in Malibu, we are talking about the big city for the most part. Nevertheless, people living in some of the open spaces, like the outer reaches of Mulholland Drive, try all solutions but the one that works to keep deer out of where they do damage. The one thing that does work, they only implement as a last resort! Read on.
I live in big deer country now, and until this last year, I have regularly watched winter herds of around 200 deer. This year the numbers were down greatly. Just from a casual survey I’d guess populations were down as much as 80 percent and while I can only guess at the causes, fawn births in those same areas were shameful, in fact, downright pathetic!
In these parts, some gardeners simply shoot deer that get into their “cabbage patch.” I can speak of one neighbor who wasted a herd of seven or eight with 12 gauge double ought and a 30-30 because they were eating the rhododendrons in his back yard. Some of the folks in our area are “God-fearing people,” and while they don’t know much about the Bible, at least some of them follow that Old Testament scripture that says, “Anyone who seeks to be righteous, roasts and eats what he took in hunting.” Most ministers worth their salt today understand that we have a much higher calling than that because we have Great Grace through the indwelling of God to do His perfect will.
The famous and controversial Dr. Gary Alt changed the goal in our state from more deer, a number of years ago, to bigger bucks. Some said this was not only to make more trophy deer available, but also to please the auto insurance industry. I cannot speak to that. I did serve on a panel addressing a full auditorium at the University of Pittsburg in Bradford, Pennsylvania where a Game Commission biologist said, “We want to take the deer population from 60 to 2 deer per square mile. It was while I addressed that large group of hunters and concerned citizens that I introduced to them two strange and very important words: “Abad and Shamar.”
In these two words we do discover the solution to the “deer problem” for timber producers, commercial farmers, wholesale nursery growers and home gardeners. Deer herd reduction will become an increasingly important problem, but to only a few as bio-fuel production competes for land with orchards, vineyards, nursery and food crops, pasture, forest and hay and grain producers. If you don’t think that farmers take a large toll, let me change your mind. I heard of one nurseryman/farmer who had sportsmen gun down between 100 and 200 deer in one massacre because they were eating some of the alfalfa growing next to his rows of evergreens and deciduous trees. People who do things like that have no heart and no conscience. Add to that the deer poached by rural residents who are wondering if the economy will ever recover and you’ll need one big calculator! It this continues, one deer problem may conclude with a total absence of the species in the state once more.
As the shaking continues, maintaining a sufficient deer population will be more difficult than controlling herd size. Right now we must go all the way back to the time shortly after creation, relatively speaking, to the first time humans ever heard of “abad and shamar.” It can be located under the job description for humanity and one of those two words, shamar means: “To guard and protect the garden by hedging it about with thorns.” The modern version of that would be cattle panels or other fencing and where necessary with barbed wire at the top. To those too spoiled by quickie solutions, this may seem like a lot of trouble, but believe me, in the long run it is somewhat of a permanent solution and far less trouble than on-going trials and errors that costs you the produce and joy of gardening. Incidentally, as a child, we had a neighbor dairy farmer who had giant topiary whitethorn bushes regularly trimmed by the cows in his pasture. As they say, the thorn bearing branches were so tightly knit, “a lightening bug with his lights on” couldn’t have crawled through it. One day smart gardeners and land managers will have these totally natural, C02 capturing, nearly free fences. A garden should be a permanent part of your home in today’s world and a fence a permanent part of your garden!
Now back to you Nimrods. Nimrod was a mighty hunter, a strongman, and a tyrant. He started by being a wild man and hunter, who made sport of it and killed far in excess of his needs. The first city he built with his excess was Babel or Babylon. The flood had taken humanity from a fruit, nut, and vegetarian diet to a grain based diet. Nimrod brought about much more suffering by introducing civilization to a diet emphasizing meat while the grain was fed to the animals, most likely to bait wild creatures to their slaughter. This continues to be the trend today and although it is illegal my state to bait wild animals to their slaughter, it is regularly practiced.
Babel means confusion. Were the people of Babel confused about many things due to being distracted from their mission to guard and protect the garden of the earth and the flourishing of every species? Did the volume of kills by Nimrod confuse them about what should have been their principle food sources? Before the Lord came down and really confused their communication He said, “Their errors and sins have reached unto heaven!” They didn’t remember why they were created and therefore, they didn’t pursue their assignment. Haven’t most of us led at least part of our lives that way? When we forget who we are and why we are we always engage in excess and error. Babylon was born out of it, Nimrod promoted it and today every creature is paying for it.
When the Babylon of excess in Revelation falls suddenly and seemingly without warning, this is what God tells us to do: “Rejoice over her (fall), all Heaven, and you holy apostles and prophets, because God has avenged you on her.” The word avenged here means, “The tried in court, and damned for punishment!” It sounds like God, for a whole lot of reasons, doesn’t think much of Babylon. I pray none of us are confused about what God says in Romans 8:18-21. Just because we enjoy something God is asking us to renounce, to exchange for something better and higher which reflects the love of God doesn’t mean we are free to walk on in spiritual darkness as if He had never spoken! Those whom the Creator loves He corrects.
Why is this important? If we are going to solve the deer problem, it might help to look at what Dr. Gary Alt is doing a few years after I met with him. He is guiding “Tomorrow’s Leaders,” young people, into training summer camps, feeding them venison and other wild animals and preparing them to exalt the sport of hunting…also known as killing animals for fun. He is grooming them to be the Game Commission of the future, before they ever hear that God Himself has His own wonderful plans for the earth and its creatures. The Creator invites us to be one heart and spirit with Him, but He will make the transfer of authority without any human hands. It really pays to see what side of the issue God has taken, before we harden our hearts against a son who doesn’t want to learn how to kill or a daughter who wants to become a vegetarian. Or worse, we could discover that we are fighting against God himself.
We know there are problems more than skin deep between Republicans and Democrats. We know there are in-party fractures and the USA is a strongly divided country today. That man in a more reverent age called The Master or The Great Teacher said, “Do you think I am come to give joining and unity on the earth, no, but rather division: for from henceforth five in one house shall be divided, three against two, and two against three.” Luke 12:51-52. It is difficult enough when a household is divided, but much more difficult when God is going one way and we another. The biggest deer problem is that we haven’t done the work of fencing our “special places” or started loving God’s creatures as He does.
God has done just what He promised. He has done a new thing. (See Isaiah 43:19) He has said He is about to establish the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. He told us how to pray and the praying one have already been heard; the answer is on the way, and we are experiencing the shaking of heaven and earth to accomplish it. God puts our appropriate response in a metaphor: “Those who fall upon The Rock will find mercy, but those that the Rock falls upon shall be crushed to bits.” God says in Isaiah 66:3, “He that kills an ox is as if he killed a human being; he that sacrifices a lamb, is like he abused and cut off his dog’s head….” The time when God winked at our ignorance is over.
God is desirous to restore the ancient ways, the ways of Eden where every creature was enabled to flourish and know love. God’s intention is in direct opposition to those who would rip apart a fellow creature with a mushrooming bullet or a broadhead and say, “Oh, I hunt because I just love God’s creation.” I once walked in your boots until God showed me every creature is waiting to be loved. His word says we were created to guard and protect them and the earth. We have been completely led astray by the evil one until we cannot even remember the assignment given us when He breathed into us the breath of life. Just as man’s fall infected and corrupted everything our restoration will also usher in the restoration of all things. This has been spoken of by all the holy prophets ever since the world began. Romans 8 tells us that all creation and every creature is eagerly and anxiously awaiting the manifestation of the sons of God because the creation itself and every creature shall be set free from the bondage of corruption into the wonderful and manifest liberty of all the sons and daughters of God.
They are waiting to see the love of God in our hearts, eyes, and actions. We need to be delivered from self-deceiving and corrupted excuses that we wound or harass or kill them because “we love nature.” God is in the process of transforming nature. He would like to begin with yours because He loves you and “nothing that hurts or harms shall enter into my holy mountain.”
You can love nature when you pray for its deliverance, love all God’s creatures and shoot them with a camera. Listen, for those who resist God, things can get extremely difficult. From this moment on pay attention to the Holy Spirit because He is being poured out on you to teach you all things that God is up to in His earth. My life took a positive turn in practical ways even after I became a Christian and that change began when I developed a genuine concern for the poor. When I began to love all of God’s creatures as beings that praise Him, have a hope from Him, just like us and have a better chance of being in Heaven than most of us, His word opened up to me like never before. All things will be changed by love even in the midst of all manner of chaos and fearsome sights. When His Spirit confirmed this and I discovered enlightened and revered Christian leaders had also known this down through the ages, the amount of divine revelation was poured upon me like a river.
God also showed me how long He had suffered with me killing and maiming His creatures, made for His pleasure, not my cheap thrills and ministry of death! In spite of all life’s difficulties, I can hardly believe how blessed and wonderful it is to have the deer not see me as their problem, but as one more person, joining the growing multitude who post their land because we, for our part, have ended the deer problem. Don’t tell me you go to a church that has a sportsmen’s group and that you all hunt together for the fellowship. Utter nonsense! If that won’t fool me, how will it fool God?
Our fellowship is with the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. You don’t need to have a 30.06 in your hand or an arrow stuck in the thigh of a black bear to have fellowship. To be spiritually minded is life and peace. To be carnally minded is death. Jesus Christ is the prince of life. If you have a hunting group in your church they don’t have a clue about what it means when we pray, “thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.” Are you really willing to keep on passing up spiritual waters to swim in and an anointing that breaks every bondage and an opportunity to rule and reign with Christ on the earth for a thousand years for a bowl of venison stew? Jesus was in the wilderness with the wild creatures and the angels ministered to Him. If you want to be transformed by God’s spirit you’re going to have “to lay that pistol down babe” or forget about being a part of His bride without spot or wrinkle or any such thing. Without holiness no man shall see the Lord and if you believe you can purify yourself even as He is pure, while you’re killing His creatures, the deer aren’t the only ones who have a problem.