Tuesday, March 09, 2010

MARYLAND NEWS: Deer Can Be Destructive Indoors, Too

So you're sitting in your home on a quiet Sunday afternoon, when all of a sudden a thunderous roar erupts. You get up to find that two deer have smashed through your front door. One is stuck in the door and the other is now in a tornadic tantrum in your living room.

This was the reality for WTOP staffer Pat Puglisi at his home in Damascus Sunday.

"Suddenly, there was a noise that sounded like the roof came off the house," recalls Puglisi.

"Debris was flying, chairs were coming apart, pots and pans were crashing. It was clear that these two deer had hit my front door like a SWAT team."

Scrambling to make sense of the situation, Puglisi was finally able to usher one deer out another door. The other deer stuck in the glass of the front door was seriously hurt and eventually put down by police.

Traumatic experience? You bet. Costly, too. But as it turns out, this sort of thing is not all that uncommon, especially considering what the deer population looks like in Maryland right now.

"Generally, if you have 20 to 30 deer per square mile, most people can live with that," says Brian Eyler, deer project leader for Maryland's Department of Natural Resources.

"However, right now, in some urban and suburban areas there are 80 to 100 deer per square mile."

The main reason for the population explosion? A lack of predators.

"Humans are pretty much the only predator left when it comes to deer," says Eyler.

"Suburban developments are very good deer habitats -- but a lot of times, hunting is out of the picture. So if you take hunting out of the equation, there's nothing left to control the population."

Eyler says the average deer sets up a "home range" in square miles that is not all that expansive. When there are offspring, those deer also will set up a home range -- often overlapping the original area. Without any predator, the deer survive, thrive and multiply.

State Farm Insurance estimates that every year, about 25,000 accidents on Maryland roads are caused by deer.

Source: WTOP

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