Synopses & Reviews
In 1942 America fell in love with Bambi. But now, that love-affair has turned sour. Behind the unassuming grace and majesty of America's whitetail deer is the laundry list of human health, social, and ecological problems that they cause. They destroy crops, threaten motorists, and spread Lyme disease all across the United States. In Deerland,
Al Cambronne travels across the country, speaking to everybody from frustrated farmers, to camo-clad hunters, to humble deer-enthusiasts in order to get a better grasp of the whitetail situation. He discovers that the politics surrounding deer run surprisingly deep, with a burgeoning hunting infrastructure supported by state government and community businesses. Cambronne examines our history with the whitetail, pinpoints where our ecological problems began, and outlines the environmental disasters we can expect if our deer population continues to go unchecked.
With over 30 million whitetail in the US, Deerland is a timely and insightful look at the ecological destruction being wrecked by this innocent and adored species. Cambronne asks tough questions about our enviroment's future and makes the impact this invasion has on our own backyards.
“Al Cambronnes deep, clear-eyed, and sometimes unsettling story about deer, about the concept of wildness, and about the elusive search for balance in a world that by its nature abhors balance, is one of the years must-read eco-books. Penetrating and exhaustively researched, Deerland belongs on the shelf alongside Aldo Leopolds 1939 classic Game Management. This wonderful book is about much more than hunting, though it is also very much about deer hunting in its many forms. In the end, Cambronne is after larger quarry—nothing less than a unified theory of humankinds place in nature. A captivating and important book.”
—William Souder, author of On a Farther Shore: The Life and Legacy of Rachel Carson
“Deerland is an inquisitive and eye-opening tour through the history, science, politics, economics, and cultural quirks of our uniquely American relationship with the white-tailed deer. From ecologists and foresters to farmers, hunters, homeowners, and business owners, Cambronne introduces us to a fascinating cast of characters whose lives, like yours and mine, are inextricably linked to whitetails.”
—Tovar Cerulli, author of The Mindful Carnivore: A Vegetarians Hunt for Sustenance
“Whether you hunt them or watch them, love them or loathe them, you need to understand that deer are not just another wild species on the rural and suburban landscape but the single most economically important and problematic wild creature in our midst. This book tells you why in fascinating detail. Cambronne offers up a tour de force on deer history, biology, ecology, economics, and politics, and how the quest for deer and their antlers largely built Americas outdoor industry. Hes a good reporter, taking the reader along to learn from experts, then putting down what he learns in a wonderfully-written, comprehensive, balanced, often funny and important book.”
—Jim Sterba, author of Nature Wars: The Incredible Story of How Wildlife Comebacks Turned Backyards into Battlegrounds
“Deerland is an absorbing survey of both the depth and breadth of Americas obsession with deer, and of the biological, economic and sometimes lethal consequences of that obsession. From the multi-billion dollar deer hunting industrys antler-mania to the surge in “adult-onset” meat hunters to the bizarre way we have transformed our landscape into ecologically unbalanced deer preserves, after reading this book you will never look at Bambi in quite the same way again.”
—Hank Shaw, author of Hunt, Gather, Cook: Finding the Forgotten Feast
“Fair-minded to a fault. . . . Even if you do not care about deer, deer hunting, or deer hunters, Deerland is a book well worth reading. Deer have become a major force in shaping the landscape. They also impact our economy: crop damage, collisions with deer, and treatment for Lyme disease add up to several billions of dollars annually. Al Cambronne has written a lively, thoroughly researched book on the way deer have shaped us and we have shaped deer.”
—Jan Dizard, author of Going Wild: Hunting, Animal Rights, and the Contested Meaning of Nature
Wisconsinite writer and photographer Cambronne (Gut It, Cut It, Cook It) examines every facet of America's multibillion dollar deer hunting industry, covering a wide array of topics that will prove fascinating even for veteran hunters. With 30 million deer populating the U.S., and towns like Duluth, Minnesota, overrun, methods of downsizing the herd vary from contraceptive programs, relocations, and planting of unappetizing vegetation—all to little avail. Hungry deer cause extensive agricultural loss and rampant forest damage. Yet venison and big antlers equal big bucks. There are people who produce small farm fields especially for deer, while outfitters, suppliers, realtors, and hunters are otherwise involved in an almost unending array of moneymaking activity. Cambronne also addresses topics like high winter fawn mortality, Lyme and wasting diseases, modern "trail cam" ubiquity, manufactured scents, administration of damage claims from farmers, lollipop trees (deer-browsed young trees shorn of all but top-growth), and even camo corn (an earth-colored kernel, used as bait, that blends into the landscape). Deer management is vital and one challenge is to convince the public of over-population. For many these are emotional issues of individual livelihood as well as ecology, and Cambronne offers much to ponder.
--Publisher's Weekly Starred Review
Deerland sheds light on the consequences of our national obsession with deer, and reveals what we need to do to bring this relationship back into balance.
Behind the unassuming grace and majesty of Americas whitetail deer is the laundry list of human health, social, and ecological problems they cause. They destroy farm crops and vegetable gardens, devour suburban landscaping, ravage entire ecosystems, endanger motorists, and spread Lyme disease across the United States.
In Deerland, Al Cambronne ventures afield with botanists, ecologists, frustrated farmers and foresters, overworked body-shop owners, camo-clad hunters, and humble deer enthusiasts. Along the way he gives readers an insiders tour of Americas deer-industrial complex—and makes a convincing case that yes, there really is such a thing. Cambronne examines our history with whitetails, pinpoints where our ecological problems began, and asks tough questions about what it will take to restore the balance weve disrupted.
An important and timely look at Americas conflicted relationship with whitetail deer.
About the Author
Al Cambronne is a freelance writer and photographer . He is the coauthor of Gut It, Cut It, Cook It. He is well-connected with leaders among the nature, outdoors, conservation, and foodie crowd. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.