Cambronne, Al. Deerland: America’s Hunt for Ecological Balance and the Essence of Wildness. Lyons Press. 2013. $18.95 (272p) ISBN 978-0-7627-8027-3
I read Deerland with a highlighter and sticky notes in hand, marking pages and highlighting paragraphs I’ll know I’ll come back to. No detail seemed tedious or unnecessary. As a new hunter living in an area with a small deer population (does cannot be hunted in my area), I learned a lot about the damage an overpopulation can cause.
“Despite their agility, speed, stealth, and incredibly acute senses, very few deer die of old age,” Al Cambronne writes. “They meet their fates early, and in ways that are nearly countless. In the South, deer die from heat stress and starvation during hot, dry summers. In the North, they freeze and starve during long, cold winters. Some winters 80 to 90 percent of the casualties are fawns. Most of the fawns born every spring, however, never live long enough to see their first snowflake.” The news isn’t easy if you want to believe deer live easy lives and die peacefully in their old age. In spite of their hardships, we have one hundred times more deer today than just one hundred years ago.
An abundance of deer leads into the business of deer. Cambronne tells of the billions of dollars generated by deer, and how that money contributes to society. The amount of money spent by individuals, guides, landowners and others interested in deer is staggering.
Deerland is one of the most through books I’ve read. It is a surprisingly easy read for a book packed with facts, figures, stories, deer, people, food plots and anything else you can imagine related to deer. Al Cambronne’s interviews with people involved on various aspects of deer are informative and entertaining. This is a must-read for anyone in any way interested in deer.