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In 1942 America fell in love with Bambi. But now, that love-affair has turned sour. Behind the unassuming grace and majesty of America’s whitetail deer is the laundry list of human health, social, and ecological problems that they cause. They destroy crops, threaten motorists, and spread Lyme disease all across the United States. In Deerland, Al Cambronne travels across the country, speaking to everybody from frustrated farmers, to camo-clad hunters, to humble deer-enthusiasts in order to get a better grasp...
In 1942 America fell in love with Bambi. But now, that love-affair has turned sour. Behind the unassuming grace and majesty of America’s whitetail deer is the laundry list of human health, social, and ecological problems that they cause. They destroy crops, threaten motorists, and spread Lyme disease all across the United States. In Deerland, Al Cambronne travels across the country, speaking to everybody from frustrated farmers, to camo-clad hunters, to humble deer-enthusiasts in order to get a better grasp of the whitetail situation. He discovers that the politics surrounding deer run surprisingly deep, with a burgeoning hunting infrastructure supported by state government and community businesses. Cambronne examines our history with the whitetail, pinpoints where our ecological problems began, and outlines the environmental disasters we can expect if our deer population continues to go unchecked.
With over 30 million whitetail in the US, Deerland is a timely and insightful look at the ecological destruction being wrecked by this innocent and adored species. Cambronne asks tough questions about our enviroment’s future and makes the impact this invasion has on our own backyards.
“Al Cambronne’s deep, clear-eyed, and sometimes unsettling story about deer, about the concept of wildness, and about the elusive search for balance in a world that by its nature abhors balance, is one of the year’s must-read eco-books. Penetrating and exhaustively researched, Deerland belongs on the shelf alongside Aldo Leopold’s 1939 classic Game Management. This wonderful book is about much more than hunting, though it is also very much about deer hunting in its many forms. In the end, Cambronne is after larger quarry—nothing less than a unified theory of humankind’s place in nature. A captivating and important book.”
—William Souder, author of On a Farther Shore: The Life and Legacy of Rachel Carson
“Deerland is an inquisitive and eye-opening tour through the history, science, politics, economics, and cultural quirks of our uniquely American relationship with the white-tailed deer. From ecologists and foresters to farmers, hunters, homeowners, and business owners, Cambronne introduces us to a fascinating cast of characters whose lives, like yours and mine, are inextricably linked to whitetails.”
—Tovar Cerulli, author of The Mindful Carnivore: A Vegetarian’s Hunt for Sustenance
“Whether you hunt them or watch them, love them or loathe them, you need to understand that deer are not just another wild species on the rural and suburban landscape but the single most economically important and problematic wild creature in our midst. This book tells you why in fascinating detail. Cambronne offers up a tour de force on deer history, biology, ecology, economics, and politics, and how the quest for deer and their antlers largely built America’s outdoor industry. He’s a good reporter, taking the reader along to learn from experts, then putting down what he learns in a wonderfully-written, comprehensive, balanced, often funny and important book.”
—Jim Sterba, author of Nature Wars: The Incredible Story of How Wildlife Comebacks Turned Backyards into Battlegrounds
“Deerland is an absorbing survey of both the depth and breadth of America’s obsession with deer, and of the biological, economic and sometimes lethal consequences of that obsession. From the multi-billion dollar deer hunting industry’s antler-mania to the surge in “adult-onset” meat hunters to the bizarre way we have transformed our landscape into ecologically unbalanced deer preserves, after reading this book you will never look at Bambi in quite the same way again.”
—Hank Shaw, author of Hunt, Gather, Cook: Finding the Forgotten Feast
“Fair-minded to a fault. . . . Even if you do not care about deer, deer hunting, or deer hunters, Deerland is a book well worth reading. Deer have become a major force in shaping the landscape. They also impact our economy: crop damage, collisions with deer, and treatment for Lyme disease add up to several billions of dollars annually. Al Cambronne has written a lively, thoroughly researched book on the way deer have shaped us and we have shaped deer.”
—Jan Dizard, author of Going Wild: Hunting, Animal Rights, and the Contested Meaning of Nature
Wisconsinite writer and photographer Cambronne (Gut It, Cut It, Cook It) examines every facet of America's multibillion dollar deer hunting industry, covering a wide array of topics that will prove fascinating even for veteran hunters. With 30 million deer populating the U.S., and towns like Duluth, Minnesota, overrun, methods of downsizing the herd vary from contraceptive programs, relocations, and planting of unappetizing vegetation—all to little avail. Hungry deer cause extensive agricultural loss and rampant forest damage. Yet venison and big antlers equal big bucks. There are people who produce small farm fields especially for deer, while outfitters, suppliers, realtors, and hunters are otherwise involved in an almost unending array of moneymaking activity. Cambronne also addresses topics like high winter fawn mortality, Lyme and wasting diseases, modern "trail cam" ubiquity, manufactured scents, administration of damage claims from farmers, lollipop trees (deer-browsed young trees shorn of all but top-growth), and even camo corn (an earth-colored kernel, used as bait, that blends into the landscape). Deer management is vital and one challenge is to convince the public of over-population. For many these are emotional issues of individual livelihood as well as ecology, and Cambronne offers much to ponder.
--Publisher's Weekly Starred Review
Posted April 24, 2013
As a deer hunter and an ecological minded person by trade an hobby, I found this book to be exceptional. It explores all aspects of the deer situation in our country from the scientific, agricultural, sportsmen, and business perspectives. It is often easy to see one side of the deer issue when you can identify with it, this book shows all of them.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.