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Marijuana plants are hardly a staple in the diets of American cervids, but in Southern Oregon’s Applegate Valley, a deer by the name of “Sugar Bob” spends its days nibbling on marijuana leaves and the occasional bud. The medicinal marijuana farm Sugar Bob frequents belongs to Richard Davis, who became friends with the inquisitive deer and now considers it almost like another pet. As Davis tends to his plants, Sugar Bob will do his part by eating whatever drops onto the ground. “He’s just eating a big bud, and he’s sitting there and as he’s chewing that he’s just getting sleepier and sleepier. his eyes are just—he’s getting ready to go out,” Davis told Oregon Public Broadcasting. With the popularity of outdoor farms—both legal and illegal ones—on the rise, it begs the question: will deer get high while eating raw marijuana? Will hunters see sleepy deer relaxing in the woods, perhaps with a case of the munchies? Animals can become intoxicated, although different species experience a marijuana high differently. Andrew Browne say that the experience is not likely to be a pleasant one.
“I would call it a very bad trip rather than being stoned or high,” he told The New Inquiry . Understandably, examining the effects of marijuana on deer is not a very high priority for researchers, but many veterinarians are interested in the plant’s effect on dogs, one of the animals most likely to come into contact with the plant and eat it. Canines that consume a small amount of raw marijuana do not seem to suffer any negative effects, but those that consume a large amount may exhibit symptoms such as an inability to walk, dribbling urine, pupil dilation, and a low body temperature. In extreme cases, marijuana poisoning can lead to death. Despite this, some believe that marijuana may hold medicinal benefits for pets much like it does for humans. According to High Times , this is because most pets, such as dogs and cats, possess the same endocannabinoid systems humans do, meaning they are affected in the same physical and psychological ways that humans are. Doug Kramer, a Los Angeles veterinarian who began treating animals with marijuana since 2011, says that the drug can be used to treat anything from anxiety to feline immunodeficiency virus. Many veterinarians and pet owners remain unconvinced. Experts warn that excessive consumption of raw marijuana by pets can lead to numerous health problems. For Sugar Bob, though, it just seems to be an occasional snack. The deer does not come by just for the marijuana, however, and Davis says that the animal also enjoys the company of his beagle. These herbivores will munch away at your cannabis crop, and can quickly ravage your carefully laid plans. Fortunately, they're easy to repel since they're timid and fearful of lights, open spaces, and certain smells. If you know deer psychology, you'll be able to get your garden deer-free, post-haste! Maybe not, but if they start rooting around in your weed, they’ll suddenly be looking a lot less cute. Deer have a taste for cannabis, more than most herbivores, and as shy as these creatures are, they’re not too shy to come by at night and munch down all your buds and leaves. How can you plan your garden to prevent a deer attack? And, if you’ve already got a hungry deer prowling your bud, how do you scare it off? Animals tend to find the taste of cannabis unpleasant; as the terpene content of your plants increases near harvest time, most will start avoiding your crops. Deer, however, will keep munching almost right up to the harvest itself. Animal researchers say this probably isn’t the case, especially since THC’s psychoactive effects are not “activated” until cannabis has been decarboxylated (heated) and cannabinoid acids turn into active constituents. That being said, some weed growers are convinced the deer are loving it; Oregon's Richard Davis has made friends with his local deer “Sugar Bob”, who loves weed and seems to enjoy the pleasant sleepiness it brings. Deer are forest dwellers, and will likely only consume your weed if your garden is surrounded by trees. If you want to keep the deer at bay, try to find a clearing for your garden. Deer are timid and will likely decide that running through a field isn’t worth the risk, even for that sweet, sweet bud. The timid nature of deer is also a key factor in getting rid of them once they’re already a problem. You wake up one morning and find your weed garden is a mess. Several seedlings are uprooted, stems strewn across the soil, leaves and buds gone but for some scraps. Some of the larger plants have buds and leaves chewed to the quick.
You scan the wreckage with sharp eyes, and there’s your clue: deer prints and droppings.
There are a few ways to get rid of them, some involving more work and some less, some more and less pretty.