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DON’T SHOOT THE MESSENGER: If You’re Having Deer Problems I Feel Bad For You Son

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Don't Shoot the MessengerOne of the reasons I love living in Southern Oregon is the nature. The trees are like something out of a fantasy novel and there are animals everywhere.

That’s why it’s so weird to see the backlash against urban deer. To me, they’re part of the package, part of the rich tapestry of life that is bigger and grander than us and strip malls. If you don’t like ’em, move to Fresno.

But there is a vocal contingent that talks about deer the way Donald Trump talks about Mexicans.

“These deer are overpopulated, diseased and dangerous,” Ann Barton wrote on the What’s Happening in Ashland Facebook group.

Apparently, it’s hard to be a bigger person than a deer. Which is weird. BECAUSE THEY’RE DEER.

There are flyers up in certain Ashland neighborhoods, warning of deer on the rampage, and organized attempts to get Ashland’s city council to do something about them, a demand about as disconnected as FOX News anchor Brian Kilmeade’s recent comments that beach officials should be “clearing the water of sharks,” as if it’s just a matter of sending in Sheriff Joe Arpaio to dress them in pink underwear and give ’em the stink-eye so they’ll self-deport.

Deer are wild animals that can’t be communicated or reasoned with. And if we could, the message we’d get in those negotiations is that they’re probably just as annoyed we built a city on their turf as you are that they’re hanging out like a bunch of surly teenagers on summer break.

One bizarre idea is sterilization, as if it’s just a few problem deer and once they’re gone, the others will get the message and get out of town by sundown.

Perhaps the worst idea going around is that urban hunting should be allowed. The obvious problems with people wandering around neighborhoods firing guns are tossed aside by advocating bow-hunting, as if an errant arrow is somehow a better thing to be shot with while checking your mail. Which it is, in that you are more likely to live. But that’s the problem. Many deer that are the victims of bow-hunters don’t actually die, they just go living in horrible pain with an arrow stuck in them. Google it if you don’t believe me. It’s seriously fudged up.

Both the hunting and sterilization positions also presume that animals are somehow less deserving of life than we are, and that simply seeing one gives us the right to kill it for invading our turf, which is a pretty strange position to take in conservation-minded Oregon. We protect salmon, spotted owls, wolves, lynx, and more, (even Canadian white-tailed deer) but somehow the local antlerati are unworthy? That’s racist, yo!

So here’s a suggestion to all the deer haters out there (aside from assessing your life based on the fact that you’re currently having an argument with a deer): If you don’t want deer nibbling on your buds, then do what you ought to be doing for the drought anyhow, and xeriscape your lawn. As Marie Antoinette would say, “Let them eat cactus!” Or gravel. Neither of which they particularly like.

Then the deer will mosey on to someone else’s yard. Or perhaps, Fresno.

1 Comment

  1. Mike Newton
    July 31, 2015 at 10:33 am — Reply

    Hey, Bambi talked.

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