| Apr 13, 2006

Feature Article - April 13, 2006

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Feature Article - April 13, 2006

Living in the country would be great, if there weren't so much vermin about

by Jeff Green

Many people who move from cities and towns to ‘the country’, do so for the clean air and the open spaces. The fact that there is an abundance of wildlife in the back country is, if anything, a bonus.

What a thrill it is to be able to go for a spring walk and see a porcupine in a tree; squirrels flitting about; deer droppings in a spruce grove; a beaver lodge in a quiet pond; and hear birds chirping away.

And what a shock it is to find out that local people don’t always share this enthusiasm. Beavers cause flooding, and removing dams is a tedious job that must be repeated daily. That is, unless they can be trapped. Porcupines get into vehicles, chew up plastic lines and suck out the antifreeze.

Squirrels penetrate our inner sanctums, our homes, chewing their way through soffits and running amuck inside the walls.


Birds are fine, I suppose, unless of course, they happen to be starlings, which have a habit of nesting in homes, and worse yet, tend to fly into chimneys. It’s not exactly pleasant to open a wood stove door only to have a soot-covered bird fly into the living room and begin knocking things over.

Let’s not even talk about racoons and skunks.

Until a few years ago deer were exempt from this kind of disdain, but for whatever reason, the deer population has increased, and they too have become a nuisance. The few remaining farmers in this part of the world have faced significant crop damage; gardeners have to imprison their gardens with 12 foot fences; and everyone else faces the very real danger of hitting deer while driving down the road.

While the issue of Sunday gun hunting has been contentious at local councils for a variety of reasons, it was concern over nuisance deer that tipped the balance in favour of Sunday gun hunting at a debate in Central Frontenac this week.

Governments have been wringing their hands about nuisance bears for years as well.

It seems that the longer people live in rural locations surrounded by wildlife, the less happy they seem to be to encounter them.

Somehow the delight over sharing the land with animals is overtaken by a sense that it is them or us.

So, for those of us who moved out from the city in the first place, and now find that there are way too many nuisance animals in the country, why don’t we just move back to the city?

The problem is that cities are filled with people, way too many people.

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