Deer herd eats entire Christmas tree farm

(Photo: KWWL/CNN)
(Photo: KWWL/CNN)

NEW HAMPTON, IA (KWWL/CNN) – The dry weather isn't impacting this year's crop of Christmas trees in Iowa, but deer eating them is wreaking havoc.

The Christmas season is known as the most wonderful time of year for Pine Acres Christmas Tree Farm near New Hampton, IA.

"Just being able to see the people enjoy the season and have fun coming out and picking out their trees and the little kids running around," owner, Jan Pacvosky. "It's a busy place out here and it's fun to watch everybody."

But this year, there is no holiday cheer to spread. Just after Pine Acres closed for the season last year, deer took on the role of Christmas Grinches, nibbling up nearly the entire farm.

"They just sort of took over and bedded down in here; we have about eight acres here of trees," Pacovsky said. "We figure between 10,000 and 12,000 trees that we've lost, which is probably between $75,000 to $80,000."

Unfortunately for this tree farmer, no kind of crop insurance is available to help cover the loss. Pacovsky is hoping now that the damage is done and the farm is being opened up to some hunters, the deer will not come back anytime soon.

"We're probably going to end up putting in a big fence around, not the whole farm, but around the area that we have trees planted in ...  so we can keep the deer out," Pacovsky said. "Then we'll be able to put gates in and open it up at Christmas time."

Pine Acres has been in business more than 40 years. It's expected to take at least five years to re-grow the deer-eaten Christmas crop.

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