Chuck Mack: I wonder why?

Just dreaming about peaceful co-existence between deer and humans

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— I wonder why the village deer that frequent our yard most every night are so wasteful.

I choose to call them village deer because they choose for obvious reasons to live in town. Obvious reason No. 1 is the abundant food supply within the city limits. The abundant food supply of course is the crops we city slickers try to raise for our own eating and all the beautiful flowers we choose to plant to make our place more attractive.

The village deer, I choose to call wasteful. I choose that term because when they raid our squash patch, they do not eat as if they were hungry. If they were hungry, they would eat the whole darn squash. The village deer that frequent our squash garden choose to pick the biggest, juiciest looking squash. They choose to take a few bites out of one squash, leaving it undesirable for human consumption. Then they like to pick out another juicy looking morsel of a squash and take a few bites out of it. Just about the time we begin to think they might have had their fill of squash for this season, they make another nightly raid and repeat the same process all over again.

I wonder why. Perhaps the village deer have picked up this habit by living in town with us city slickers for so long. Not all of the human species of course, but some of the human species seem to display the same eating habits when they choose to frequent a buffet style restaurant for eating. I'm sure you've noticed, just like I have, some of the eating habits of the human species. They fill a plate heaping full of what they think they want; then after sorting through the plate and nibbling on this and that, they set that plate aside and proceed to the buffet table to fill another plate, only to repeat the same thing with that plateful.

By gosh, I'll bet I've hit up on the answer. The village deer that have been raiding our squash patch are only mimicking the human behavior they've grown accustomed to. Here I have been cursing the deer all along, and it is apparent they are acting not on natural instinct. They certainly must think they are eating the proper way because they notice how the human species eats.

I wonder. I wonder if the State Game and Fish Department would be willing to fund a study on the eating habits of the village deer. Now I'm old enough and wise enough to realize there is no way to keep the village deer out of the city limits. I also realize that the village deer most certainly have a higher level of intelligence than their country living counterparts. So just maybe, if funding is made available for such a study and such a study determines that it would be feasible to create a training program for village deer, perhaps it would be feasible to train the village deer to stay out of people's vegetable and flower gardens and to eat only the weeds that are abundant throughout town.

Wouldn't that be wonderful? We still could watch the deer as it meanders slowly across the street in front of our car almost daring us to ram them. We could enjoy them lying peacefully at rest outside the living room window under the shade of our favorite tree. Yes, it would be wonderful; if we could enjoy all the good things about the village deer and still have our vegetable and flower gardens for our own enjoyment.

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