Wednesday, February 21, 2007

saving deer (and rats)

As those of you who have been reading m;y stuff for a while know, I have this thing about deer.

However, recently I received an e-mail about deer that upset me.

It was one calling for action. Asking, really, demanding that I take urgent steps to stop a travesty.

Because, if I didn't immediately write a letter to the mayor of Livingston, New Jersey then the mayor was sure to follow the advice of the city's "Deer Management Committee" and allow men dressed in camouflage and carrying bows to chase down the city's herd of Bambi's relatives and commence launching arrows in their direction.

Now, unlike most e-mails of the sort, I did not immediately trash it. I hesitated with my finger on the delete key because, because I could relate to the writer's feeling.

His feeling about the deer of Livingston is the same feeling I get when I travel into the city.

But instead of feeling warm and cuddly when I see deer, I get that feeling for those cute little ubiquitous brown (and sometimes gray) critters scurry across the city streets, around the corners, from one hole to the next.

While it's true that out here in the country we don't have very many rodent neighbors, when I make the trip into the city there's always one of those cute little buggers darting out of one hole and scurrying across the sidewalk for another, I want to stop and say (just like your Sunday driver in the country says when they see a deer) "Look everybody. Did you see it? A rat? Isn't it so cute?"

Over the years I've noticed that some people are rather small minded about rats. They accuse rats of all sorts of nefarious crimes. Spreading disease. Damaging houses. Sneaking into cabinets and eating the food set aside for human consumption.

Really, in the scheme of things, just trifles. A small price, actually, to pay for having such darlings living in the same neighborhood.. And while I admit, rats getting in to one's food can be a problem, there are other solutions to the problem besides murder.

Really, the question should be, not how to get rid of rats but truthfully, the question should be, why are the city people so selfish? Why should people living in the sity be so selfish with all their wealth?

Instead of attempting to murder rats and to keep them out of their food and homes shouldn't they, instead, begin to live peacefully with their rodent neighbors? Instead of traps, couldn't they instead provide the darlings with food?

And instead of being upset about rats in the walls how about setting aside a room just for these lovely creatures.

I can see it clearly, The White House instead of just having a blue room and a vermeil room, a china room and Lincoln's bedroom. It could also have a rat room.

And incase you think I'm being unfair, let's go back and look at the deer. I mean, when compared to a rat, Bambi and relatives aren't very nice creatures.

I mean, about the best you can say for a deer is that its a sneak thieves. Creeping around in the dark. Jumping fences, stomping on flower beds. Destroying vegetables. Eating pumpkins. Sometimes fields of pumpkins. Corn, lettuce, spinach, sweet potatoes, okra, string beans, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower (we could go on and on here).

Three year's ago a gang of deer burglarized my field right in front of our house, and when we weren't looking made off with something like $15,000 worth of vegetables.

The year before it was $12,000. The year before that $8000. That makes $35,000 worth of property stolen by the local deer gang in just three years.

I bet you will be hard pressed to find very many examples of cute rats causing any where near that much damage.

So, what I think I'm going to do is to write that mayor up in New Jersey and instead of complaining about his "Deer Management Committee" suggestions. I'm going to ask him to give his city's rats the same opportunity. Instead of traps and poisons I think the city should give its rodents a sporting chance. Bows and arrows.

Leigh Hauter

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