Deer Season

Fire up the grill and get the back-straps marinating! It's deer season in Michigan, time to harvest the abundant bounty we are over-blessed with.

Lower Michigan counties have among the nations' highest rates of deer-vehicle collisions. In 2003, there were some 60,000 such accidents, 11 of which ended in people dying. I've had two head-on collisions over the years, and there have been numerous other close calls. With nearly two million of these big critters roaming the Michigan countryside, there's no shortage of deer habitating the local terra firma.

Open the hunting season earlier. Close it later. Allow for more doe tags. Thin the herd. In counties where the population exceeds the carrying capacity, collisions with cars, disease, and winter starvation results in greater deer mortalities than from hunting. A 125 grain bullet is a much quicker and humane way to die than being crippled by a car and crawling into the bushes to slowly bleed to death. And, unlike the road-kill carcasses which sit bloody for all to see on the side of the road for days stinking with their guts strewn about, a hunter-kill is made into delicious venison lasagna and jalapeno salami. Hunting is part of the circle of life our species has depended on since the dawn of time.

For years, the Ann Arbor PETA chapter would show up at the town deer pole and yell and holler and make a big scene. Fathers who stood proud when their kid bagged their first buck are called barbaric killers. Locals are antagonized and no one's mind is changed in the least. TV news crews film the staged drama and the snippet at six showed a guy with silly hand puppets talking about how Sigmund the Squirrel misses his best friend, Beauregard the Buck.

Then PETA stopped coming. It's been awhile since the PETA circus rolled into town. The Riverrant Committee on Cervid Activism is at a loss for the exact reason why, but posits one possible cause: perhaps there was a change in perspective when the chapter president ran head-on into a 200 pound buck while driving at 70 mph on I-94 at night and had to deal with a crumpled car, insurance deductibles, a righteous case of whiplash, and a most unholy mess in their drawers.

That's possible, but not the likely reason. They're probably too busy protesting the war in front of the near-empty Ann Arbor federal building or boycotting Wal-Mart or going to Buddhism class or making Kabalah bracelets. In the meantime, we'll be doing Mother Nature and the motoring public a favor and enjoying a hot pan of garlic venison mosticolli.

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