Recently a TALL honkin’ fence went up around my neighbor’s land.
The kids, cats, and dogs sometimes cut across this guy’s fields, but this seemed like inhospitable overkill.
The newspaper woman inside of me elbowed my curiosity until I interviewed Mr. Neighbor to find out what atrocity pushed him to erect a Berlin wall. Too much dog crap? Kids setting off fireworks in his pasture?
Nope it was the deer. It makes me think of the old joke: What’s the difference between beer nuts and deer nuts? Beer nuts are $1.90, but deer nuts are under a buck. (snort.)
My neighbor loves his deer. He’s trying to keep them INSIDE his acres, not out.
It seems that it all started about a year ago when he let someone hunt on his farm. They killed a big buck with 10 point antlers. A trophy deer.
As you may already know, Each season a buck sheds its antlers and grows a new set. It seems size really does matter in the deer world, and it mostly depends on DNA and the available food supply.
For years now, farmers have been leasing their land to hunters, allowing them exclusive hunting privileges for a fee. For some small farmers, the leasing fees pay as much as the crops they grow. Hunters put out feeding boxes or plant special crops to ensure plenty of protein to make antlers … but what about DNA?
Well… It turns out there’s a big market in deer semen and artificial insemination in order to grow gi-normous-honkin’-big deer with more spikes than a road strip.
So Mr. Neighbor was prepared when the 10-point buck was bagged on his land. The deer’s testicles were cut off and carefully cooled. Within hours those cajones were at an artificial insemination storage facility where experts collected the semen.
Since the 1950s, semen from prize-animals (horses and cows) has been frozen, preserved, and sold. The semen is contained in units called “straws.” One deer (buck) will produce enough semen for about 125 straws. Each straw is worth $300-$3,000. (Rates vary depending on antler size and body frame.)
Yeah, yeah, the rest of the deer is eaten, but that’s not why Mr. Neighbor is ” locking down” his property.
Why you ask? What’s so special about his deer’s studly parts?
Because, it seems hunters want “trophy deer.” And the best way to get a big-rack buck is to inseminate the local does with super-stud DNA. Only about 20% of procedures work. Stress makes them reject the semen. (Well, yeah-duh.)
So, Mr. Neighbor is breeding deer for their chromosomes. A big, pointy-antlered deer-semen farm. It’s kind of like how we used to raise cattle on a ranch, but we never got that much money for any part of beef.
We just ate the edible parts—even the tail.
Why go to all this deer trouble? So hunting resorts/lodges/farms can guarantee not only a trophy kill, but a great time. Price tag for guests: Up to $38,000 for a hunt.
All I can say is that some people have too much money.
If you’ve read many of my posts, you know I don’t like deer, but … this demand for deer nuts?
It’s almost enough to make me feel sorry for them.