Deer pen in Fond du Lac park getting a makeover

By  | 

FOND DU LAC, Wis. (WBAY) - The deer in Fond du Lac's Lakeside Park are getting an upgrade to their pen. Work is underway to make more natural grazing available for the animals.

Deer in Fond du Lac's Lakeside Park habitat (WBAY photo)

The buck and four doe in Fond du Lac's Lakeside Park bring people in year round. It's an attraction that's been around for decades.

According to Park Tradesman Jeff Atkinson, "Kids, old people, young people, they all want to feed the deer, talk to the deer. They're huge. And the deer are pretty people friendly, so that's pretty cool. They come up to the fence, so yeah, it's a big attraction."

But, over the years, understandably, the deer have eaten away at their habitat and it's not as aesthetically pleasing as it used to be. So, for the first time, and with the help of Empire Land Management, park officials are looking to boost the ground cover in the deer pen to make it look and feel more like what the deer would experience in the wild.

"It is a park and with the animals we want it to look like they belong here. We don't like the mud, we want the deer to be happy and if the deer are happy the people are happy. And if the people are happy, everyone's happy," says Atkinson.

Empire Land Management has started to plant food plots inside the deer pen. Using a technique called frost seeding, the planting of clove, alfalfa and other products will invigorate the natural forage for the deer.

"When the soil freezes at night, the little water droplets open up pockets in the soil and this seed will drop down into those pockets and then the sun comes up and fills in the pockets and the next day it takes it in," says Todd Shippee from Empire Land Management.

While the seed is being planted today, it will be mid-May or June before it all blooms. And then, with minor upkeep, the food plots should help to keep the deer happy for a long time.

Shippee adds, "They take really good care of the deer out here and this is just an attempt to make it just a little more healthy and natural environment for them."