Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 29

the comeback of wild turkeys, which
Tom Hughes, assistant vice president
for conservation programs at the National Wild Turkey Federation, calls
"the greatest conservation success
story in history."
The organization estimates that
before the Europeans arrived, approximately 10 million turkeys lived
in mature forests and along grassy
edges where they could roost in trees,
rear their young, and find plenty of
grasshoppers and acorns. But unregulated hunting and widespread landclearing "nearly extirpated the wild
turkey," says Hughes.
Using money generated from
hunting licenses and the PittmanRobertson Act, wildlife biologists
relocated the big birds from places
with healthy populations to areas
where they were absent or scarce.
Today, Hughes says, "We have
somewhere around 7 million turkeys, restored almost to their former
abundance. And they actually are in
states beyond their original range."

In some cases, the pendulum has now
swung the other way, with, for instance, white-tailed deer populations
booming in suburbs throughout the
southern Appalachian region. Some
residents complain about damage to
crops and home-landscaping plants,
while others report more dangerous
problems. According to State Farm
Insurance company, in 2015 three
Blue Ridge states-Virginia, South
Carolina and West Virginia-ranked
among the 10 worst for deer collisions. Some communities have resorted to urban archery to get rid of
unwanted deer.
There are several reasons for the
overpopulation, experts say. Hunting is on the decline as a recreational outlet and is illegal or limited in high-residential areas. Deer
are drawn to "edge" habitats like
tree-rimmed yards, as well as to salt
applied to highways during snowstorms.
Perhaps most importantly, the
predators that used to keep deer
numbers in check, especially red

JASON PENLAND

Oh Deer

Deer populations, nearly wiped out during colonial times, began a comeback with the birth of the
conservation movement around 1900; since then, populations have waxed and waned as levels of
hunting and protection have see-sawed.

wolves and cougars, have been overhunted and are all but gone.
"In the real world," says Waters,
"deer are prey animals and they
ecologically need some predators
to maintain the population that
they've got a tremendous capacity
to increase. That's the way nature
works."
Filling that niche, to some degree, are non-native coyotes, which
have been venturing into the Blue
Ridge states for several decades and
have, like other wildlife, adapted to
urban and suburban environments.
They frequently attack fawns but,

because they don't move in packs,
tend to leave the adult deer alone.

Backyard Bears

Black bear restoration, says Jaime
Sajecki, black bear project leader for
the Virginia Department of Game
and Inland Fisheries, is a perfect example of a "really good conservation
and recovery story" in her state. Virtually erased by 1900 due to unregulated hunting, habitat loss and farmers who considered them a threat to
their livelihood, the animals began
making a comeback about 100 years
ago with the creation of the ShenanNovember/December 2016 29



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016

Contents
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - Intro
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - Cover1
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - Cover2
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 3
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - Contents
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 5
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 6
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 7
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 8
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 9
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 10
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 11
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 12
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 13
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 14
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 15
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 16
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 17
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 18
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 19
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 20
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 21
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 22
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 23
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 24
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 25
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 26
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 27
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 28
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 29
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 30
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 31
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 32
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 33
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 34
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 35
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 36
Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - 37
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Blue Ridge Country - November/December 2016 - Cover3
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