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Guest Opinion: Let’s talk turkey, Dear

Having missed last Wednesday’s Ashland “Deer Summit,” I interrupted my neighbor Joe Buck yesterday on his morning run past my house. I figured if anyone would know anything, it would be Joe who, despite his namesake, has a real issue with some deer.

“I couldn’t go,” he said. “They won’t let me into the council chamber since I raised a ruckus outside during the meeting on the “road diet.” (Joe, for reasons that should become apparent, would like the whole city using bikes only.)

When I asked him about the “deer issue,” his macho response surprised me. “Cull the herd,” he said. “It’s survival of the fittest; every deer for himself. It amazes me that people in this town can be so globally conscious about dwindling resources on a finite planet and yet can’t see the same problem in their own backyard.”

When I told him the council was going to continue looking for public input, he snorted skeptically, “Yeah, they’ll invite in all the stakeholders but leave out the archers who should be the ‘steak’ holders.” They might consider donating the harvested venison to the Ashland Food Bank or Uncle Di’s Diner.”

He gently nudged me in the ribs. “I heard that someone wanted to put out sterilizing salt licks; while they’re at it, why don’t they put out some “mini tick licks” for the Lyme disease ticks that plague people.” (Deer figure in the Lyme disease cycle as tick hosts; something my wife and know too well, both having contracted Lyme disease in Connecticut a decade ago. One of our friends was recently diagnosed with Lyme disease after being bitten in Lithia Park.)

Later that day, when I was walking out of the Ashland Food Co-op, I ran into Jane Doe — I'm not using her real name because she has, well, shall we say, a complex reputation in town, a reputation somewhat validated by her three kids in tow, each from a different father. Jane — who is, frankly, not exactly hard to look at — has a habit of fawning over males, and she started giving me the once over with her beautiful brown eyes and long lashes. I tried but failed to avoid her seductive, mesmerizing gaze and asked her if she had attended the deer meeting.

“I’m so busy watching my little ones, and I had only a small window to view it on television the other night,” she said. “It was sooooo sweet what that one woman said about communicating with deer to reassure them that everything’s OK.”

I was getting hypnotic images of that “Peaceable Kingdom” painting where humans and other animals peacefully coexist. I somehow managed to break out of my trance.

“Very Ashlandia,” I observed, “but are you going to talk to the mountain lions that will be drawn down to our expanding deer population?”

“Goodness no!” she exclaimed. I’ll leave that to you humans. And with that our mind meld ended, and she trotted off with her fawns in tow.

Andy Seles lives in Ashland.