Violent caring

Read the full story in Q Magazine.

New Lenox, Ill., 40 miles south of Chicago, constitutes the border between farmland and built-up suburb. My neighborhood, one of the quietest areas in town, serves as a gateway for the deer. As of 2019, the white-tailed deer population in the state of Illinois reached 670,000, the largest recorded since 2012. It’s not a population size outlandish for the state, but in the Will County area, residents have noticed increasing deer presence near their homes. Throughout the year, the woods provide little sustenance for the deer. When food becomes scarce, gardens and landscaping are easy options to stave off starvation. Assurance of food and a lost fear of people leave deer with no reservations about exploring neighborhoods. They are easiest to spot in the winter, when their brown coats stand out against the white ground. In the cold months, bushes bordering the brick exterior of my house are a relief from scarcity, but even in the springtime deer find the neighborhood plants more appealing than what the woods have to offer. Every year, fences grow higher around my dad’s vegetable garden, nestled in the back corner of the yard, while the yield declines. His frustration has grown to the point where, for several years, the plot has remained empty. 

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