Amish Country Journal

Reports and musings from Indiantree Farm, in Holmes County, Ohio -- the largest Amish community in the world. See more about author Larry D. Miller and Amish Country at

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Deer Dilemma On Indiantree Hill

          The hills are alive with the sound of rattling antlers.
          More than the normal rut season scuffling of our deer herd, this is a genuine dilemma. 
          An Amish neighbor who raises prize deer, experienced his worst nightmare about a week-and-a-half ago. 
One of his boys left a very important gate unlatched and twelve of his biggest whitetail bucks escaped.
Twelve!  And they've been bred to be bigger, stronger and carry bigger racks than your average wild deer.
This – in the middle of rutting season – will change the face of our wild deer population forever.
Two very young Amish boys got the shock of their lives last weekend when they double-blinked to see the buck of their dreams within easy shooting distance.  It was Ohio's youth hunting weekend and they were among hundreds of teens and pre-teens out to earn their hunting stripes.
Each brought down one of the recently-free bucks (I'm told they were 10-pointers or better) and likely collapsed in a heap of giddy hunter's luck elation.
That leaves 10 roaming the hills.  They're highly unlikely to stay together so some may already have wandered beyond the Indiantree Farm neighborhood and – in fact – beyond the Holmes County "neighborhood."
Neighbors this weekend will pitch in to help locate, and tranquilize, any or all of the remaining 10. 
After that, they'll have to skip the tranquilizers and simply try to bring the critters down. 
There's a liability issue at play here.  If a motorist hits one of the escaped (and tagged) deer, since it's technically a "domestic" animal, there's a question as to whether it should be considered a wild animal or a critter for which its owner is responsible.
And finally, we all must remember that none of the "Amish Country Deer 10" have been told that they're not wild.  Besides, they're now face-to-face with a huge herd of wild new (female) talent.
These guys will not go easily – or willingly – back home.