Plain animals and political animals

Friday, August 10, 2012

The story last week surprised and amused me.

It was a story about the foreign (not native to the Ozarks) elk that had been released in the woods over yonder where folks don't always take too kindly to strangers, if you know what I mean.

Those imported elk, it turns out, are wusses. They are dying, perhaps as the result of the intense heat and lack of rainfall much of Missouri has experienced this summer.

Well, buck up, elk. This is the game of survival, and you're failing miserably.

I have been against the importation of elk into Missouri's woodlands because anyone with half a brain knows elk, like the deer that are so plentiful in these parts, don't play by rules.

This means the beasts may be relocated to a specific area of the Ozarks, but what's to keep them there? Nothing. I predicted before the elk were brought into the state that it wouldn't be long before some unsuspecting motorist's vehicle would plow into an elk. I had no idea then that elk would just give up and die. Never crossed my mind.

Which might explain why Missouri lost its native elk in the first place. All the blame has been put on hunters who supposedly killed all the elk. But what about disease? And, as we now know, what about the fact that elk aren't cut out for life in southern Missouri.

Maybe -- just maybe -- this is Nature's way of telling us to stop meddling.

And to that end, I wonder when the wildlife experts and the folks opposed to Cape Girardeau's new deer-hunting ordinance are going to face the fact that nuisance deer inside the city limits are a serious problem.

Moreover, the growing deer population is, in my opinion, attracting other, more dangerous beasts.

Like the mountain lion spotted last month on a farm north of Cape Girardeau in the Egypt Mills area.

What do mountain lions eat? Anything they can catch, including deer and small, well-fed children.

So as long as the deer are plentiful in the city, you might expect that mountain lions will be coming for dinner.

Something to think about.

It's been quiet around our house the past couple of days. All of our friends have stopped calling.

You know who they are. They're your friends too.

We miss all those calls from Todd and Sarah and Dave and Claire and Clint and Chris and Susan and that former Arkansas governor who thinks he's related somehow, although I can't imagine why.

The telephone sits quietly today. The answering machine has a big, fat "0" on the message counter. All those short-time friends who somehow knew exactly when we would be sitting down to dinner have stopped dialing.

Not to worry. I'm told some of them will be back in a few weeks. I hope so. I miss all my friends trying to out-conservative each other.

Remember when political candidates used to appeal to voters with their good sense? Or good, old common sense? Nowadays these folks would have us believe life begins BEFORE conception.

How right is that?

Joe Sullivan is the retired editor of the Southeast Missourian.

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