The Deerslayer Seven

Friday, December 2, 2011

Sometimes great things just fall out of the sky and right into your lap. Take, for instance, the advice Cape Girardeans will be giving to the Deerslayer Seven, the official committee appointed this week to come up with recommendations for the best way to deal with our fair city's exploding deer population.

My fervent hope is that the committee will truly be open to fresh, even unusual, ideas. I know the committee's members will be hearing both from those who favor a scorched-earth policy as well as those who think we should quit pestering those cute little bimbos -- er, Bambis -- and their moms and dads.

Other cities with too many deer have already tried several methods. They have had limited success at best. The deer, it turns out, are smarter -- a lot smarter -- than we think.

So far, trapping and relocating deer have had little impact.

Feeding the deer chemicals has failed to render the bucks impotent. Just think about this. Men who spend gobs of money to cure their own ED spend more gobs of money to make bucks useless in the mating department. Go figure.

Some cities have tried sterilization of deer as a way to thin the roaming herds. Not much luck there either.

Killing the deer seems to be the best bet, but this is where the Deerslayer Seven will encounter the choppiest waters of their otherwise cheerful voyage. Hunting deer in Cape Girardeau's neighborhoods just doesn't sound right -- except to motorists whose vehicles have smashed into a deer or gardeners who have given up on landscaping for the sake of hungry we'll-eat-just-about-anything-you-plant deer.

Cities that have killed deer have enlisted sharpshooters and expert bow hunters. They claim to be safer than your average Joe. I'm sure they are much better at sending a bullet through a deer's heart than this average Joe, that's for sure.

Another deer assassination method is now legal in Missouri. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch waxed editorially about the atlatl, a prehistoric weapon used by Aztecs that involves hurling a spear at your prey at very close range. Atlatl hunters must not only be accurate but close. Quite frankly it seems to me that if you have to get that close, you might just as well be carrying a baseball bat.

A few days ago, what may be the answer to Cape Girardeau's deer problem presented itself in the form of a classified ad in the Southeast Missourian. It was like a gift from above. Here is the exact ad, word for word, and I am not making this up:

"Free for the taking

"Two female donkeys free to a good home. Great for keeping coyotes away from your livestock. You load and haul. Serious inquiries call ..."

Folks, any animal that can run off wily coyotes can make short work of a few hundred deer. Trust me on that.

The Deerslayer Seven isn't likely to give serious consideration to bringing mountain lions to town to do what mountain lions do naturally: eat deer. So what's the harm of letting a few donkeys have their way with those pesky deer?

The very thought of asses running helter-skelter through city streets reminds me a lot of Washington, D.C., for some reason.

Politics aside, I think we have a safe, effective solution. What do you say, Deerslayer Seven?

BONUS: While I was reading the classifieds, I couldn't help but notice the ad right next to the one about the donkeys, also free for the taking:

"Free Farrah Fawcett Charlie's Angel doll. Has one right hand missing, otherwise in perfect cond. Comes w/ clothes ..."

Honest to goodness, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry when I read that one.

Joe Sullivan is the retired editor of the Southeast Missourian.

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