Be gone, you seemingly magical creature, you of the luminous brown eyes, slender torso, and trim legs of coiled steel. There you stand, silent and strong, regarding me with calm gaze; near enough almost for me to touch you. . . to caress you. . .
To shoot you. To eat you.
This is no different than that gorgeous boyfriend who ran up your credit card balance, borrowed your car, ate all the food in your pantry, but contributed zero dollars toward food and gas. Eventually you gave him the heave-ho. It’s time to terminate our love affair with the white-tailed deer.
A recent comment about a deer photo referring to it as “Bambi,” preceded by the inevitable, “Aw, gee, how can you shoot” has me “aarghing!”. Do we have Walt Disney to thank for our obsession with this rat on hooves? Did our Pilgrim ancestors forbear culling the herd because some doe turned moist eyes upon them? No – so why do we?
For about two weeks after moving to this rural location, I bought into the cute deer thinking. One would be drinking from the bird bath or standing as if frozen on the front slope. A small herd would emerge from the trees and bound away, single file. So charming, so natural.
Then my plants disappeared. They were eaten by the deer. Daily I look out my window and a gaggle of girl deer is grazing through the remnants of the wanna-be garden or across the grass or sunning themselves on the deck. Everywhere I drive, there are deer in the road or beside it. Evidently they sleep all day so they can run in front of my car at dusk. Should I go Magic Bus hood to deer nose, I will likely lose, and possibly more than my car.
There are at least a 1.5 million vehicle vs. deer collisions yearly, causing more than a billion dollars in property damage. That deer is going to look much less cute once it’s crashed through your windshield. And while you’re sitting in the front seat looking that storybook animal in the eye awaiting the arrival of a wrecker, check yourself for ticks. Ticks carry Lyme disease; deer carry ticks. Those chills, fever, bullseye rash, lethargy, and headache you thought were related to the flu or having to pay your auto insurance deductible are also
symptoms of Lyme disease. Untreated Lyme can cause heart muscle inflammation, Bell’s Palsy, meningitis, and arthritis. Enjoy a good burger? While you’re checking yourself for ticks, have one; it may be your last. There appears to be a link to a red meat allergy transmitted by deer ticks. No more 5 Guys Burgers & Fries, or steaks off the grill – ever. Even food cooked on the same grill as the red meat – give that up, too.
We’re eating cows, calves, lambs, rabbits, goats, doves, chickens, ducks, turkeys, pigs and piglets, (possibly horses soon), many of which are pretty darn cute before they appear medium rare on our plates. Why do we continue to engage in this fantasy love affair with deer? Which is the more humane alternative – Bambi hit by your car but not killed, staggering off to die a slow painful death, or Bambi felled by one well-aimed hunter’s gun or bow?
Why do we behave like deer in headlights when it comes to reducing the deer population?
Shoot. Eat. Repeat.