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February 05, 2014

The Stark Truth About Bucks


I know some people who are really sick with Lyme disease. I personally have allergic reactions to tick bites. I don't know how much of that can be blamed on the local deer population.

I do know mice play a part, and that's why we put out those little traps that snap the spines of those wretched evil rodents, leaving them twitching in a puddle of their own disease-ridden urine.

Slaughtering God's living creatures is a subjective thing. Karen, for example, wouldn't hurt anything. She will gently trap a spider under a glass and place it in the backyard rather than do it any harm. On the other hand, they freak me out.

It all comes to a head when I go to take my morning shower and there is a spider there. I shriek – in a manly way, of course – and run out to Karen, stark naked – I prefer buck-naked myself but Karen says "stark" is more appropriate.

I then whine and plead for her to remove the offending thing from the shower before it kills me. (Grandpa once told me two of the greatest myths ever perpetrated on the Hamptons masses is that there are no poisonous snakes or spiders out here. Oh, and don't worry about sharks, either.)

Once on our honeymoon in Mexico Karen went into a little mud hut to change into her bathing suit when I saw what appeared to be a tarantula crawl in through the window. It was so freaking big I was afraid he would come out carrying Karen in a glass.

Lately, when we get up in the morning, we see a family of deer in the tall grass right outside our window. A Big Stark – er, Buck – oftentimes is lying on the snow. Mom is standing nearby. Two little ones are brunching on tree leaves. They've been there all week. I am absolutely certain they are a family, and that they have found a peaceful place to rest up until the weather breaks – either that or they love the Led Zeppelin albums I blare when I play air guitar.

These creatures – the deer, not the band – are the enemy. At least according to the USDA, which championed an East End-wide hunt that would have "culled" 3000 animals (and maybe taken out Robert Plant if they got a clean shot).

The fact that our local municipalities actually were ready to sign on for the kills astounds me.

The game plan was something out of an R-rated video game. Trained snipers would descend on our town and villages, some in the dead of night. They would net deer, when possible, and "dispatch" them with a bullet behind the ear. Others would be shot from longer range – in the head. This "humane" effort – yes, they really used that word – would be a win/win for everyone, because the deer meat would go to food pantries to feed those in need.

Look: I have lived here all my life, and I have several good friends that hunt and yes, they do in fact feast on game and venison and there is nothing wrong with that. But I can guarantee you most of the people who talk about eating everything they kill are completely full of crap.

Can any of us really imagine 3000 dead deer corpses? Who is going to dress these carcasses? It takes all day to butcher one properly. And what, then, becomes of the meat, which must be inspected, approved, and distributed? And how will our food pantries, many housed in the basements of churches without much more than a kitchen refrigerator, be able to safely store this huge volume of meat?

Worse, how are we going to know the percent of saturated fat and the sodium content? Will there be a little recipe stuck on the plastic wrapper? Does it have "trans fat?" Will there be "Family packs?" Can we make venison sliders with it?

This is a slaughter, an abomination. It is sick. Now the DEC wants to eradicate the entire Mute Swan population on the East End. Hell, why don't they go after the noisy ones?

Things are pretty strange when a governmental agency known for its bureaucratic ineptitude is allowed to declare genocide on a species without needing the approval of the people who live here. It started with mosquitoes, where will it end, Norwegians?

The old Denis Leary joke is apropos here. We worry about baby seals because they are "cute" and they became a cause celebre. But few of us care what happens to a cow that is tortured for its entire short life before being butchered, because we think of them as shoes and baseball gloves, not living creatures.

Hey look, mice are hideous creatures – they move the cheese. Ticks? Spiders? I'll deal with them on my own terms. I don't need Big Brother deciding what lives and what dies around here, thank you.

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