Read: Feeders aren't for deer
By PETTUS READ
As a young boy walking the lanes of my grandparents’ farm, I often heard the beautiful calls of a certain bird that seemed to make those days a little bit brighter, no matter what the purpose of my trip involved. If the walk involved getting up the milk cows for the afternoon milking, the birds’ distinctive whistles seemed to blend with the cadence of each step of the cud chewing cows turning over each gravel in the lane. But, if the bird was perched high in a hackberry tree on a early summer morning, as I made my way to the farm pond with a can of worms and a cane pole for some sun perch fishing, his melody of sweet tunes seemed to make the carefree walk more enjoyable. Sort of like one of those zippity-do-da days you used to sing about where a blue bird would sit on your shoulder. Yes, those were the most perfect days in the world as a child growing up. When your thoughts were tuned to cows walking, gravel turning and birds singing.
It will require those of us who do own land to be more aware of providing habitat for native wildlife like rabbit and quail. Since private land and farms provide the homes for 75 percent of our wildlife, it’s up to us to be the caretakers of this natural resource, which I feel our farmers do a good job doing. But, with the invasion of many new species that do not belong here, they may need help from hunters, review of government regulations and the public as well.
The program is pretty simple reports TWF. The Department of Agriculture certified deer processors across the state accept donations of whole deer, and the meat is distributed to a network of food banks and soup kitchens. The number of deer the processors can accept is only limited by the amount of funding available to cover the cost of preparing the venison. Quotas are established by the county and based on available funding; when those resources are exhausted, hunters are asked to cover the cost. Last year more than 135,000 pounds of venison was donated, but much more could be accepted and given. Plus you don’t even have to be a hunter to participate. Tax-deductible donations can also be made. For more information of the program contact TWF at the Federation's website at www.tnwf.org, by calling TWF headquarters at (615) 353-1133, or by making a donation to the Tennessee Wildlife Federation, 300 Orlando Avenue, Suite 200, Nashville, TN 37209.
I do like my red birds and prefer that the deer don’t use my feeders as their McDonald’s.