Snow vermin

  This past weekend, we had a good snow - 6 inches or a little more at our house.  I woke up in the morning and looked out to see tracks that I didn't recognize coming out of the woods, crossing our neighbor's yard and strolling through our garden. 

Were they coyote? Fox? Some other predator? 



You can see that they wandered a bit. They came right up to our patio, in fact, before making a loop of the yard. 

I went and looked a bit closer. 



Perfect, cloven deer tracks. 


Two of them, by the tracks. Wandering my yard looking for a free meal, even in the snow. 

I followed the tracks around their path through my yard. Here's further evidence of the damage they do. 

That's a young apple tree - and that's a deer bite taking off one of the branches and closed up buds. I've aleady had to replace another tree that they ate to a nub. 

Deer are 'pretty' when they're in someone else's yard. On my property, they're just vermin. 

I have an electric fence to put up, to create a barrier around the wooded sides of the property (the other two sides are street or the neighbor's yard), but that won't go in until spring. If it gets too bad this winter, I may end up moving one of the children into a tent in the orchard to discourage visitors. 

Never mind the frostbite, kids. Just make sure we get apples next year.