Litter: A Danger to Deer

ImageSource of Photo: Janet Murphy,

In May 2013, a whitetail doe got a large, clear plastic jar stuck on its head, and it was not able to either eat or drink. The doe hung around the yard of Janet Murphy’s home in Hermantown, Minnesota. Ms. Murphy said, “I’m just thankful it could get some air in there.” She tried calling 911 and the Department of Natural Resources, but she was unable to get help for the doe, which stayed around her yard: “She’s following me and my daughter around my yard. She’s not scared of us.” Ms. Murphy wrote about the deer on Facebook, and she received advice to contact Wildwoods, a wildlife rehabilitation organization in Duluth, Minnesota. Farzad Farr, a volunteer with Wildwoods, lent Ms. Murphy a 10-foot metal catch-pole with a noose at one end that can be put over a deer’s (or other animal’s) head and cinched. The pole is made deliberately long to help the catcher avoid injury. Ms. Murphy said, “I came home, and it [the doe] was lying on the edge of the woods. I thought, ‘Well, I’ll try it.’ I got the catch-pole and started approaching her. She stood up and kind of backed up into some trees. I extended the catch-pole as far as I could. The cable on the catch-pole went around” the plastic jar. She added, “When I started securing it, she started jumping just like in a rodeo. Up in the air and down. Side to side. She got on the ground and started to roll.” Ms. Murphy held fast to the catch-pole and the cable that was still tight around the plastic jar. She said, “I pulled straight down on the ground, and it [the plastic jar] popped right off.” The doe immediately went to an area in the woods where water was present. Ms. Murphy put food in her deer feeder, and the doe ate. Peg Farr of Wildwoods said that litter can be dangerous to wild animals: “We get calls on this every year, at least two or three per summer — raccoons, skunks and cats. This is our first deer.”

For Additional Inormation: Sam Cook, “Hermantown woman solves a deer dilemma.” Duluth News Tribune (Minnesota). 8 June 2013

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