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Pot-munching deer goes national

RUCH — A YouTube video has transformed a laid-back deer named Sugar Bob that lives on the grounds of the Applegate River Lodge into a late-night television star.

And like a true diva, Sugar Bob declines to stoop to the level of actually interacting with the media. Instead, the former forest denizen leaves that distasteful chore to Richard Davis, who co-owns the lodge with his wife, Joanna.

In fact, when Davis handed the phone to Sugar Bob to talk to a reporter recently, there was nothing but silence, which forced Davis to take back the receiver and handle the interview.

Sugar Bob and Davis stole the show Wednesday night on the satirical "Daily Show" program, which is hosted by Jon Stewart and airs on the Comedy Central network.

"They're from New York. They kind of think of Oregon as this crazy state of nothing but pot smokers," Davis said.

In all fairness to Daily Show correspondent Hasan Minhaj, who traveled with a film crew to Applegate, Sugar Bob does consume cannabis, and Davis is an open proponent of medical marijuana.

With that backdrop, the segment featuring Sugar Bob and Davis was titled "Sugar High" and aired as a tongue-in-cheek counterpoint to several anti-marijuana segments by Fox News, which were aired to open the short piece.

Minhaj, who Davis described as a nice young man, satirically tried to portray Davis as a drug kingpin.

For instance, there's a shot of a heading on a sheet of paper titled Richard "Pa Butt" Davis and his connection to medical marijuana.

In the Comedy Central piece, Minhaj also compares Davis to Pablo Escobar, the notorious Colombia drug lord, and draws parallels to the movie "Scarface," starring Al Pacino as a drug kingpin.

A smiling Davis responds by calmly stating he doesn't deal with drugs, he deals with medicine.

In another scene, Minhaj refers to Davis' vicious guard dog, which happens to be a gentle, slow-moving, 14-year-old beagle named Trooper D (the D is short for Davis).

"I love him. He's my best friend," Davis said of Trooper.

Other comical scenes included Minhaj interviewing two veterinarians in an effort to prove Sugar Bob has been irreversibly harmed by his pot intake.

Instead, veterinarians Sarah Brandon and Greg Copas said they didn't see any harm in the deer eating pot and commented on the amount of protein and minerals in marijuana leaves. Full disclosure: The two veterinarians operate a clinic in Washington state called Canna Companion, which advocates pot use for pets.

Minhaj proved a perfect foil for Davis' subtle humor.

Isn't weed ruining the great state of Oregon, Minhaj wondered? Davis said rather than a destructive influence, he thinks of it as a solution.

As a drug kingpin rolling in money, what comes next for Davis, Minhaj asked.

"Power," Davis said.

Then what? the Daily Show correspondent asked.

"Women," Davis said.

It's difficult to ascertain Sugar Bob's back story because he won't talk, but we do know he "mysteriously" showed up at the lodge one day, and it's clear he enjoys munching marijuana leaves.

This is the second time in eight months the lodge has been featured on national television. In August, it was featured on the program "Hotel Hell," hosted by bombastic chef Gordon Ramsay.

"We have a lot of film crews out at the lodge," Davis said. "Everything we do out here is a lot of fun."

Reach reporter Jim Moore at 541-474-3721 or jmoore@thedailycourier.com

Comedian Hasan Minhaj of The Daily Show found Sugar Bob had little to say when asked about his marijuana-munching habits. Daily Courier photo