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Oh, deer! Birth control in the forest

By Celia Rivenbark

How do you explain having to hire specially trained dart teams to shoot deer with tranquilizers and then give them a year’s worth of birth control before they wake up?

This makes more sense than you might think. After all, it’s not as if the deer could open those tiny little pill containers with their hooves, now, is it? And I’m guessing few does would consider themselves, in “Seinfeld” parlance, “sponge-worthy.”

While a few deer are delightful (unless, of course, they appear directly in front of your headlights on the interstate), unruly herds of frisky deer can decimate an entire forest before you can say “venison jerky!” That’s where the need for birth control comes in.

This stealth inoculation is certainly the more humane solution to a scary-big jump in the deer population nationwide. While many gentle souls would be horrified at the notion of random deer kills, it’s hard to find anything really wrong with “GonaCon” which the U.S. Department of Agriculture specifically developed as birth control for deer (except for the ones who work at Hobby Lobby, of course).

The GonaCon program appears to be pretty foolproof. Once the does are tranquilized and birth-controlled, they are then outfitted with a tiny radio transmitter that allows the dart team to track them so they can be found and given a booster shot next year. That second shot makes the doe permanently sterile and, let’s face it, far more attractive in the eyes of commitment-phobic bucks.

No longer will the buck have to fear being trapped into a relationship after simply falling for the allure of big brown eyes and white tail.

Of course, it’s not all Bambi’s fault. The buck should bear half the responsibility for an exploding deer population. Fair is fair. But these are animals and you can’t just haul them into a seventh-grade health class and make them watch “My Body, Myself” or “Abstinence Works!” And forget about getting them to wear promise rings. (See hooves reference above.)

I think the deer contraceptive program is fabulous. It’s underway just an hour from my home and, at last report, it was moving a bit slower than expected but things will probably pick up. On Bald Head Island, an exploding deer population threatens the entire island, which relies on a lush maritime forest for storm protection. I’ve been there many times and marveled at the boldness of the deer. You practically have to push them out of the way to get to the good boutiques.

I hope this no-kill plan works. In Hastings-On-Hudson, N.Y., where similar deer contraception is underway, an official noted that deer are neighbors and “violence is not how we deal with neighbors we don’t like.”

OK, so that’s a little wackadoodle. You can’t really call anyone a neighbor unless you can sell your kid’s school fundraising crap to them, am I right?

rivenbark.com

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