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White-tailed deer

White-tailed deer browse on the shoreline at sunrise in Area 1 at Wagon Train State Recreation Area. 

As a Nebraska deer hunter and conservationist, it’s easier for me to believe someone spotted Bigfoot than any groups of deer in Saunders County. Nebraska Game & Parks’ glowing propaganda wants you to believe all is fine, but they have done very little since 2012 to stop the critical decline of deer.

After months in the field, hunting on farmland that once harbored a very good population of whitetail deer and other associated wildlife, I saw one deer and one possum. The whitetail deer in my part of the state are all but gone.

Where are the pheasant, the coveys of quail, the rabbits, the cardinal, the fox, the badger or the bald eagles, Mr. Farmer? What have you done?

No habitat, no wildlife -- how are animals supposed to survive on brown dirt? Money and politics is responsible for the brown dirt. Many farmers know they are just borrowing the land, and they care about the land and the inhabitants, but too many are satisfied with greed.

Nebraska farmers have displayed a wholesale wanton disregard for wildlife and nature, for years. Critical habitat disappeared when the price of corn spiked a few years ago.

I witnessed farmers destroy whole cottonwood stands, prairie grasses and brush plowed under. Wetlands were filled in. Steel drainage pipes were dropped in creeks. Conservation Reserve Program land was destroyed.

I was sickened to see historic old cottonwood stands bordering watersheds bulldozed and stacked, and soil turned right down to the very edge of eroding creek beds. I guess the modern technique for maximizing profits must be to plant from fencerow to fencerow to make room for more crops per acre.

And the consequences? Brown dirt and a couple possums. Perhaps that’s Nebraska’s legacy.

John Fairbanks, Wahoo

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