The deer fix: Tackle the rain issue next, please

Friday, May 11, 2012

So after riling up many of the city's residents over what to do about the White-Tail Menace, our elected council members have taken action.

Well, some of us would call it action. Others might suggest that our fearless leaders folded at the first whiff of rancor. That happens sometimes. Bullies and whiners always seem to get their way in the end.

By this time next week it will be a crime in River City to feed the deer which, it seems to me, find plenty to eat in our yards on their own.

Of course, in an attempt to avoid the stigma of a truly black heart, the council said it's still OK, as far as it's concerned, to give the deer what they want most: mineral salt.

Ask any deer hunter with a stand high enough in a tree to cause serious injury in the event of a fall, and he or she will tell you that one of the best deer lures is mineral salt.

So we can't feed the deer, but we can keep them nutritionally balanced. That must make sense to someone.

I haven't parsed the new ban-on-feeding-deer ordinance enough to know how far the prohibition against sharing deer nibbles goes. But if you think back to when the Great Deer Debate started months ago, you will recall that one of the major concerns came from flower lovers whose best blooming specimens were being devoured by the growing deer population. To deer, most blossoms are dessert.

My question now, in the wake of the action (or lack thereof?) by the city council, is this: Does the new ordinance put me at risk of spending three months in jail for tending beds of everything from asters to zinnias?

And will I be fined if a deer shows up at my platform bird feeder and licks it clean? I'm pretty sure the deer will pay little heed to my "Birds Only (and Stupid Squirrels)" sign that I've posted in an attempt to be a law-abiding citizen.

And for you deer lovers, here's a bit of consolation. As far as I can tell, the new ordinance is pretty specific about not feeding deer. It doesn't say a thing about elk. I'm pretty sure when the new elk herd over in Carter County realizes this loophole, the big brutes will be heading our way. Then the deer menace will be the least of our worries as elk, which are four times bigger than deer, strut across our fertilized lawns.

Say, if the deer eat our lawns, is it a crime to use fertilizer? Or should I be thinking about an annual application of Roundup?

All of which leads me to this suggestion: Now that we've seen what elected city officials are capable of when it comes to problem like invading deer herds, what would we expect a city council to do about the lack of rainfall?

Earlier this week I watched as well-formed storm cells marched toward Cape Girardeau only to dissipate at our western border. Sometimes the storm line neatly split in two somewhere near Gordonville.

What's going on here? Is someone or something manipulating our rain clouds? This is something the city needs to address. It obviously would want to start by naming a committee. And then those folks opposed to government interference in acts of God could get mightily riled up. Followed by a unanimous vote (minus any missing council members) permitting prolonged sprinkles while banning first-class gully-washers.

Don't you just love it when elected officials do their darndest to please everyone -- and wind up making everyone unhappy?

Watch those rain gauges. They'll be full in no time, once the city decides to act.

Joe Sullivan is the retired editor of the Southeast Missourian.

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