News and Reviews

Scroll down for links to Deerland op-eds, interviews, and reviews.

In the News:

My Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel op-ed from April 10, 2014:  This Land is Your Land—So Show Up.  “It’s true.  Wisconsin’s wild deer belong to you.  So do its wolves, bears, eagles, and swans—and even its slightly less charismatic creatures like bullfrogs and bluegills.  They belong to you, me, and everyone else.  The state is only holding them in public trust for us.  And all those state forests and state parks?  They belong to you, too.  If you want a say in how they’re managed, here’s your chance…”  Click here to view online.   (That week slightly different versions of this op-ed appeared in the Wisconsin State Journal and Capital Times.)

My Duluth News-Tribune op-ed from April 3, 2014: Help Deer by Skipping Shed Hunting.  “For deer here in the Northland, April is the cruelest month. Even in a normal winter, many of them survive months of subzero temperatures, belly-deep powder, and plate-glass springtime crust, only to exhaust their final reserves just before the last snows melt and the first green shoots emerge.  But this has not been a normal winter…”  Click here to view online.  For a related blog post, click here.

My Wall Street Journal op-ed from March 12, 2014: Can’t See the Forest for the Deer.  Why the ecological impacts of overabundant deer aren’t just a trival matter of deer nibbling a few plants here and there.  This piece focuses on Long Island, but is just as relevant for America’s other cities, parks, and sprawling suburbs that are currently dealing with deer controversies.  Click here to view the article online.  Or, click here to download the PDF.  For a related blog post, click here.

Industry News

Publishers Weekly (Starred Review).   “…For many these are emotional issues of individual livelihood as well as ecology, and Cambronne offers much to ponder.”

Publishers Weekly Interview (subscription required) .  Billion Dollar Antlers: PW Talks With Al Cambronne. By Barb Axelson.   “In Deerland, Cambronne, a writer and photographer from northwestern Wisconsin, examines the ecological impact of America’s multibillion-dollar deer hunting industry.”

Booklist (registration required). “…In this often unsettling and occasionally wry
overview of the country’s deer dilemma and some of its unheralded benefits,
veteran wildlife journalist Cambronne delves deeply into the “deer industrial
complex” and looks at the many proposed solutions for restoring a healthy
ecosystem between human and herbivore…. Highly recommended for anyone
concerned about sharing our land with these paradoxically gentle and
destructive creatures.”

Print

The Wall Street Journal.  “The White-Tailed Menace: The deer population grows each year, and so does ours—and that inevitably creates a problem.”  A thoughtful, perceptive review by Max Watman.

Minneapolis Star Tribune.  “Welcome to ‘Deerland.’  In a new book, Wisconsin writer and hunter Al Cambronne investigates the complicated relationship between Americans and a
massive population of whitetail deer.”  Great review/interview by William Souder.

The Saint Paul Pioneer Press.  “Wisconsin author and hunter Al Cambronne asks tough questions about our relationship with deer.  It’s an important book, both for deer hunters and anyone who loves deer—and some of the questions he raises will make all of the above uncomfortable.”  A fun interview with outdoor columnist Dave Orrick.

Forest Landowner.  “. . .On the other hand, deer are the goats of the forest. They have vast appetites, devour new saplings, and make replanting a challenge. Deer reduce the total density of plants in the understory, but they also alter species composition and diversity. As Cambronne writes about the conflict between foresters and deer: ‘A forester’s job is to plant seedlings and grow more trees. A deer’s job is to eat seedlings and make more deer. Some days the deer win; some days the foresters win. The deer are hungry, but hungry foresters need their paychecks too – paychecks that depend on revenue from timber sales, which in the long run depends on new seedlings growing up to replace trees that have been harvested.'”  A fun interview with Forest Landowner editor Pete Williams.

Block Island Times. “In the past 100 years the pendulum has swung from a United States left almost bereft of a deer herd to one that is burgeoning with just too damn many of the critters… [DEERLAND] claims to be an objective book, exploring all sides of the topic, and I think that the author is quite successful in this… his lack of prejudice is what makes him so adept at drawing out those whom he has chosen to interview.  I think this book may be just what Block Island needs to open up the conversation. And, besides, did I say it was fascinating?” A great review by Renee Meyer.

Ithaca Times. “Journalist Al Cambronne, the author of Deerland, is on the side of
reason, a lonely place to be these days. His book is an examination of the
relationship between Homo sapiens and Odocoileus virginiana, the white-tailed
deer, from all angles.”  A great review by Arts & Entertainment Editor Bill Chaisson.

Winnipeg Free Press. North America’s Deer Dilemma. “…it seems I’m not alone in my obsession. Wisconsin writer Al Cambronne loves deer too. After years of research, he’s released a book called Deerland. In it, he chronicles the complicated and often conflicted
relationship North Americans have with deer.”

Grand Forks Herald. “Cambronne ventures inside America’s ‘deer-industrial complex’ in
search of an ever elusive balance between our modern society and the natural world.”

Wisconsin State Journal.  “Cambronne asks readers to think, consider and soul-search our love, and sometimes hate, for whitetails.”

The Capital Times (Madison, WI).  …A brisk, engaging read that ranges in unexpected directions… the author delves into his subject with a curiosity that’s contagious. You’ll never look at a roaming deer — or eat a venison burger — in the same way again.

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “On a more serious note is “Deerland: America’s Hunt For
Ecological Balance and the Essence of Wildness” (Lyons Press). Cambrone didn’t
grow up hunting… But that helps him bring a different perspective.”

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.  Good Summer Reads for Outdoorsy Folks.  “DEERLAND celebrates white-tailed deer in America—the good, the bad, and the ugly…”

Washington Post.  The Humane Way to Manage Rock Creek’s Deer. My op-ed on D.C.’s Rock Creek deer, and why standing back to “let nature take its course” isn’t always our best option—or our most humane. “Last week protesters outside Rock Creek Park carried signs reading ‘Shame on the NPS,’ ‘Don’t Kill the Deer,’ and ‘Birth Control, Not Bullets.’ But if the opponents of the National Park Service’s effort… had looked into the woods and seen an understory thinned or absent altogether, would they have known what they were — or, rather, weren’t — seeing? Few of us do…”

Duluth News-Tribune.  From the intro to my DEERLAND interview with Outdoors Columnist Sam Cook: “Cambronne covers a lot of ground in the book. He looks at deer physiology, deer hunting’s importance to the country’s economy, hunters’ fascination with trophy bucks and the consequences to society of a large deer population. Cambronne includes a thorough look at Duluth’s urban bow hunt for deer.”

Svenska Dagbladet.  “Avigsidorna är många: hjortarna kostar jordbruket enorma summor och sprider sjukdomar – och i synnerhet Cambronne varnar för en stundande ekologisk katastrof om hjordarna tillåts fortsätta växa.”

Superior Telegram.  “I was fascinated by how much deer fascinate people — often to the point of obsession,” Cambronne said. “It seemed like all that obsession could make for a fun story. On the other hand, most of us see deer and don’t even notice them. We take them for granted. But it turns out they play a much larger role in the environment and in American culture than most people realize. So that’s the story I wanted to tell.”

Richmond Times-Dispatch.  “DEERLAND is an eye-opener is many ways, and Cambronne is adept at finding interesting characters… and weaving their stories into the larger narrative. We hear from hunting guides, foresters, farmers, owners of auto body shops, game biologists and more…  DEERLAND makes for a well-researched, thought-provoking read, one you don’t have to be a deer hunter or nature lover to appreciate.”

Deer & Deer Hunting.  “Deerland: America’s Hunt for Ecological Balance and the Essence of Wildness, by Al Cambronne, presents an important and timely look at America’s conflicted relationship with whitetail deer…”

Northern Wilds.  (Also appeared in Minnesota Outdoor News)  “With chapters like Inside America’s Deer-Industrial Complex, Why the Mountain Fears Its Deer, The Deadliest Animal in North America, and Invasion of the Suburban Cervids, author Al Cambronne has written a definitive work about deer in the early 21st Century.”

Bill Hilts Outdoors. (Also appeared in Niagara Gazette, Lockport Union Sun and Journal, Tonawanda News, and Medina Register.)  “Cambronne does a great job with Deerland. If you are into deer, as a nonconsumptive watcher, an avid hunter or anything in-between, you’ll want to take the time to read this book.”

Broadcast

Buck Benson’s Roadhouse show on WTIP in Grand Marais, Minnesota.  “Deerland,
a thoughtful exploration of white-tailed deer and their impact on our world.”  On the eve of Minnesota’s deer opener, I talk with Buck about the significant impact overabundant deer have on our environment, the astounding size of America’s deer-industrial complex, and much more.

Sandy Hausman on WVTF/Radio IQ, home of Virginia Public Radio.  Reaches Virginia and surrounding states.  Sandy interviewed me and a few others for this two-part story on managing Virginia’s deer population.

Dan Small Outdoors Radio, aired on 11 stations in WI.  Archived shows available on iTunes, Dan’s own website, and Lake-Link.com.  One of my favorite headlines so far: “Deer are taking over the American landscape and psyche.”

I join Larry and his callers to talk deer and DEERLAND on Wisconsin Public Radio’s The Larry Mieller Show.

Allegheny Front: DEERLAND Author Discusses Environmental Impacts of Overpopulation.  I sit down with Jennifer Szweda-Jordan to talk about the surprising environmental impacts of overabundant deer.  Produced at WYEP-FM, an NPR affiliate in Pittsburgh, and heard on other NPR affiliates in Pennsylvania and New York.  Allegheny Front stories are also heard on Inside Appalachia, which is broadcast by NPR affiliates in Virginia, West Virginia, Tennesee, and Kentucky.

Scott Shalaway’ Birds and Nature Show on WMNY 1360 in Pittsburgh (April 14, 2013). We talk about why feeding deer does more harm than good, and why there are no easy answers to the suburban deer conundrum.

Talking deer, deer hunting, and America’s Deer-Industrial Complex with Chris Larsen of Foremost Hunting. (Available on Podbean or iTunes.)

With Chip Hart and Tom Cross on WLW Big Outdoors Radio in Cincinnati, OH.  Heard in 25 states and Canada.

My DEERLAND TV interview on Dave Carlson’s Northland Adventures.

Online

Outside Online.  “Inside America’s Deer-Industrial Complex: Welcome to Deerlandia,
where we kill deer and they kill us. Too bad it’s not a spoof.”  A great review by Mary Catherine O’Connor.

Aaron Farley at Rustic Man.  “I had a hard time putting it down… If you are a hunter, farmer, student, wildlife watcher, animal lover, or concerned with conservation – you should read this book.  If you hunt, watch, enjoy, despise, love, loathe, or can spell “deer” – there is something in DEERLAND for you.”

Randy Wakeman Outdoors. “A thought-provoking look at our national bewilderment
concerning our relationship with deer.”

Jim Riutta at The Well-Read Naturalist.  “Deerland should be considered as a ‘must read…’  At times funny, often eye-opening, occasionally nauseating (let’s just say that after
the section discussing the annual national sales of deer urine – yes, deer urine – that you’ll likely never look at an Olympic-sized swimming pool quite the same way again), once or twice challenging and to some perhaps even controversial, and commendably interesting from the first page to the last.”

Mark Kenyon at Wired to Hunt.  “…Almost all the materials out there are focused on how to influence, grow, hold or hunt those deer. Few if any are focused on how deer influence us…Absolutely fascinating.”

Tamar Haspel at Starving off the Land.   “…He’s concise and conversational; he writes with skill and verve….  Go Read Deerland.”

A great in-depth review at the Wildlife Management Institute’s Outdoor News
Bulletin.  “Should be required reading for future wildlife managers who will be entering a field where answers aren’t always black or white.  Throughout their career they will probably have to deal with the conflict of values that has become the hallmark of managing wildlife resources.”

DEERLAND mentioned at The Campaign for the American Reader and its sister blog The Page 99 Test, which gets its name from Ford Madox Ford’s statement:  “Open the book to page ninety-nine and read, and the quality of the whole will be revealed to you.”

A review by Elizabeth Peterson at Deer Passsion.  “Al Cambronne takes a different look at the whitetail deer. He conclusively researched all facets of the animal, including its impact on humans, the economy, and the natural world. A must-read for hunters, conservation groups, and anyone involved in the world of natural science.”

Stephen M. Vantassel: Environment, Theology, and More.  “What is it about deer that make some people wish to eat it and others wish to simply protect from all and any harm? If you have similar questions or just an interest in the social and human aspects of wildlife management, then Deerland is for you. Throughout, Cambronne maintains a decidedly neutral position…. His goal is for Americans to think more deeply and profoundly about deer and their role in the environment. Ultimately, we have to decide what kind of nature we want.”

Cool Green Science: The Science Blog of The Nature Conservancy.  “Then a completely different wildlife story came across my desk, Al Cambronne’s well-reported
Deerland. In contrast to the stories of rhinos and forest elephants,
Cambronne’s book is about a seemingly hopeless wildlife situation that turned
into a wildly successful conservation story.  Perhaps too successful…”

The Suburban Bushwacker.  “A fascinating book on the intersection between people and deer.”

Dr. Tom Rooney’s Deer Impacts Blog. “Whether you’re a hunter, a gardener, or a birder, and whether you care about the environment, the deer in your back yard, or the shrubbery they just ate, DEERLAND is an eye-opening read that will change forever the way you think about deer and the landscape we share with them.”

Finally, this week’s “least helpful” review:hostas snipped by deer, copyright Al Cambronne

Your hostas were incredible.  The flavor, the texture…  Unforgettable.  And the relaxed, informal outdoor setting—plus immediate service, despite the late hour.  The whole experience left us speechless.  Thanks for a truly memorable meal.  We’ll definitely be back.       — Buck