PILLAGER -- At 10 p.m. on Tuesday night of this past week Roland Anderson heard a commotion in his yard. "I couldn't figure out what it was," Anderson says. "I looked out but didn't see anything."
The next morning Anderson discovered the source of the noise. The 3-D deer decoy he uses for archery practice lay in a mangled heap, the three-piece body separated, horns and legs cast aside and the head laying 20 feet away. The 3/8-inch steel stakes that hold the decoy in place were bent in half, the work of an angry whitetail buck presumably enraged to find an impostor in his territory.
Anderson says he's seen "quite a few" bucks in the area but isn't sure which deer did the damage. His son, Jon, who lives nearby, speculates it was the work of a mature buck trying to establish dominance.
"There's just so many around," Jon says, "and they're trying to get their own territory. I've found a lot of scrapes and rubs already."
Unusual, since that kind of deer activity typically doesn't appear until mid-October.
The Andersons own 50 acres and manage it for deer. They put in food plots a few years ago and have seen a tremendous increase in the numbers of deer on the land as well as in the size of the bucks. Jon estimates that 20 to 30 deer live on the property. Roland said that one night last year he counted 27 deer in a single field. Wednesday evening of this past week, Jon shot a 2-1/2-year old buck that already sported an 8-point rack. Roland, who shot an 8-pointer last year, says he enjoys having all the deer around.
"I recall years back in the '60s and '70s when I hunted a whole season and never saw a deer," he says. "Now we're spoiled. There are deer wherever you go. The DNR has done a real good job of managing our deer herd. Obviously we now have more than they want, but if we increase the harvest this fall we should be all right. I would prefer to see lots of deer like we do now rather than what it was like 20 or 30 years ago."
Of course the vandalism that occurred Tuesday night is not appreciated, especially since it will hit Roland in the pocketbook.
"Now I have to buy new target," he says. "This time it'll be a doe."
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