GLENNS FERRY, Idaho — For years, a herd of urban deer have been eating from the grape vines of a local Glenns Ferry winery. Y Knot Winery is working with Idaho Fish and Game to put an end to the herd’s imposition.
“It isn’t so much the amount that they eat, as they pull the clusters and drop them on the ground and so there’s a lot of waste,” said Teresa McCallum, owner of Y Knot Winery.
Around 25 deer ravage the vines at Y Knot winery beginning in the spring. This results in a loss of $10,000 or more in losses per year. The grapes lost are used to make the winery’s most popular red wine.
“We grow what’s called a Lemberger grape for our Blue Noir wine, and there are only about 80 acres in the entire Northwest. We have about six acres, so it’s not something that we are able to go out and replace with grapes from somewhere else,” said McCallum.
Idaho Fish and Game are working with McCallum to address the issue. After attempts using non-lethal methods to change the herd’s behavior were unsuccessful, Fish and Game has been translocating the deer just above the Nevada border.
“We pre-bait an area where we know deer are coming in pretty heavily trying to get them localized to that one spot,” said Miranda Reinson, regional wildlife biologist for Idaho Fish and Game.
Once the deer are gathered, the net is dropped.
“We’ll drop the net on top of them as quickly and safely as possible for both us and the animals. We’ll get them put together and into the trailer and move them to a more suitable location,” said Reinson
Their efforts are paying off.
“We’ve been, I think, pretty successful. They’ve trapped and relocated a good number of them,” said McCallum.