Ever wonder where the deer on the islands came from ? No, they are not native to the islands. They are actually descendants of the Texas whitetail that were imported to the islands by a dedicated group of individuals (my father included) in the early '50s who wanted to hunt big game.
The first group of deer were transported to St. Croix and kept on the Lawaetz farm for several months in quarantine. The group was then divided, and half of the deer were shipped to St. Thomas by sailboat. Upon arrival on St. Thomas they were then sorted and distributed in small groups to Lovenlund, Tutu, Frenchman's Bay and the Lindqvist property by Red Hook. These areas were picked because of the large tracts of pasture land available.
There was a moratorium of five years on hunting to enable the herd to stabilize and reproduce. On the first day of the first hunt, there was excitement for many a hunter, including myself, who at the time was 12.
For many years there were hundreds of deer on St.Thomas, but their habitat was taken away for housing developments, and wild dogs took their toll. Even so, I am excited that a few still survive in the wild and hope that the remainder can be protected so the people of the island can enjoy them.
Edward Elkins Jr.
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