Wednesday, December 29, 2004


There was an item on the news debunking what had, unbeknownst to me, become a widespread Urban Myth: that insurance company operatives were releasing coyotes into the woods in the northeastern US in order to (1) reduce, in a natural and presumably PETA-proof manner, the number of footloose deer romping on the hoof and, thereby, (2) reduce proportionately the number of claims filed each year--a soaring number, according to the rumor meisters--due to collisions between deer and cars.
Insurance companies have issued press releases by the fistful swearing unanimously that such allegations rank somewhere between nonsense and poppycock. Which I find thoroughly discouraging. Indeed, I find myself cursing the insurance companies not for the usual reasons, i.e. their very existence, etc., but for being uncharacteristically squeamish and soft-hearted.
I am an enthusiastic and proselytizing member of the TLGD,TBA, or The Less Goddam Deer, The Better Association. Our position--or to be strictly and numerically accurate, my position--on the deer versus predators controversy is simple: We (that is, I) would happily introduce coyotes, mountain lions, great white sharks, Bubonic plague, or Huey gunships into deer country if that’s what it took to thin Rudolph and his ruminant brethren down to some manageable number, such as, say, 3. Per county.
I have been driven to this admittedly ruthless and unapologetic anti-deer position not due to any tragic encounter with the species on the roadway. Although I drive a local deer-car collision corridor--Arlington Boulevard in the Berkeley - El Cerrito hills--on a regular basis, I’ve only had a half dozen encounters, and only one or two close calls, with Dasher and Dancer, in some 23 years of driving.
No, my issue is agricultural.
There have been deer in my neighborhood since long before I arrived. They are still around. Some say that we humans have invaded their turf. My position on this is that we humans have clearly not been all that victorious. If the Allied invasion on D-Day had gone like our invasion of deerville, homeowners all across Europe would routinely awaken to find that all the roses in their yard had been eaten during the night by rogue families of SS men.
I thought the deer and I had reached an understanding. The roses, they could have. But they were not to touch my special Refuse To Incriminate Myself plants. That was the deal: they would spare my little fun flora, and I would not stay up all night waiting on the roof with a shotgun.
And then they violated our truce most horribly. I mean, eaten right down to the stump. And if you mean to suggest that deer don’t clip shrubbery right down to the topsoil, and that this sounds to you more like a harvesting by human thieves, and that maybe those day workers that the contractor hired to dig that backyard drainage system could have noticed the little garden behind the trellis and later returned in the dead of night...but don’t bother, because it’s just this simple:
You drive your car into a deer, the worst you get is a car repair bill and maybe a fine. You drive your car over some guy from Jalisco, however, and even if he’s undocumented you’re in for months of grief.
So I’ve picked my nemesis, and it’s Bambi & Company. And if you didn’t already despise the American insurance industry for one of any number of reasons, you now have this to hold against it:
No damn coyotes.


Blogger ....J.Michael Robertson said...

Bob, I'm killed warm fuzzy animals with long-barreled weapons as my granddaddy watched with approval. If all of Nature cries out in pain, well, eggs omelet, etc.

December 31, 2004 at 11:33 AM  

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