It is a unique privilege to have a three year history with any wild animal. When it is a mature Whitetail buck it is even more special. In this post I share photographs of the buck that came to be known as “Droptine”. First photographed in 2011…
In just one year he grew tremendously; a product of abundant food and good genes. This photo is from 2012…
This year, 2013, he has acquired a second droptine and appears to have added some mass to his antlers…
Many people will spend a lifetime in the outdoors and never see a buck as large as this one. He lives on a National Battlefield, and because of this, his days are numbered. No hunting is allowed on the battlefield property, so the deer that live there can reach their full growth potential. Unfortunately, the lack of hunting also allows the herd to expand to the point where they can become their own worst enemy.
The National Park Service has developed a plan to bring sharpshooters to the battlefield to kill the deer “for their own good”. I understand the need to reduce the size of the herd, but in my opinion, the killing should be done while the bucks still have their antlers and bucks should be excluded from the slaughter.
A buck such as this one is a natural treasure belonging to the people of the United States. Removing him from the herd will have a minimal impact on the overall number of deer on the battlefield. Removing him will, however, leave a gap in the makeup of the deer herd that will require at least a decade to fill. Given the long term plan to continue killing the deer, his spot as an outstanding example of a mature herd buck may never be filled.
The “Whitetail Deer Management Plan” proposed by the National Park Service will cost tax payers at least $391,000. What will be the end result? A huge pile of dead deer, and federal property that will be devoid of the most popular natural attraction that brings visitors daily to observe and photograph the deer!
What will be the benefit from the plan? Financial gain to the contractors who were paid to write it; the sharpshooters who will be paid overtime to slaughter the deer; the butchers who will process the venison?
I believe the $391,000 could be better spent providing handicap access to more areas of the battlefield, and locating bathroom facilities for visitors on the Worthington Farm, the Thomas Farm and the Best Farm. It is very difficult to convince the federal government that they may be about to make an expensive mistake. Their position is that the plan was developed by “experts” who are far better qualified to make these decisions than a naturalist or photographer. I wish I could agree, but a review of recent government policies, plans and procedures just does not support the position that “they” know what they are doing.
Thanks for visiting, reading, and reflecting.