Claude and white­tail friends aren’t tak­ing the bait on hunt­ing pro­posal

Calhoun Times - - FRONT PAGE - Dick Yar­brough

To those of you new to these pages, you likely are not fa­mil­iar with Claude the White­tail Deer and his col­leagues on Jekyll Is­land.

Sev­eral years ago, I re­ceived a call from a much-dis­tressed Claude af­ter mem­bers of the Jekyll Is­land Au­thor­ity had de­cided there were too many of them on the is­land (white­tails, not mem­bers of the Jekyll Is­land Au­thor­ity) and were plan­ning on “culling” the herd – which is a po­lit­i­cal­ly­cor­rect way of say­ing they were go­ing to bump off the deer.

Claude said Jekyll Is­land white­tails had had enough and were threat­en­ing to fight back. Not good. The last thing our state’s tourism in­dus­try needs is an all­out war be­tween white­tail deer and mem­bers of the Jekyll Is­land Au­thor­ity.

Claude asked me to in­ter­vene. The first thing I did was to in­form mem­bers of the Jekyll Is­land Au­thor­ity that most tourists who came to Jekyll Is­land were there to see the deer and not them. Sec­ond, I re­minded them that deer are nowhere near as big a nui­sance as are lawyers and I had not heard any­body men­tion culling lawyers.

At the same time, I told the deer it would be im­prac­ti­cal for them to climb trees and sit on a stand, wait­ing for mem­bers of the Jekyll Is­land Au­thor­ity to come saun­ter­ing through the woods. Plus, there was the is­sue of snag­ging their antlers in tree limbs. The noise would spook mem­bers of the Jekyll Is­land Au­thor­ity and they would run away.

For­tu­nately, my in­ter­ven­tion seems to have worked. The Jekyll Is­land Au­thor­ity de­cided to “study” the prob­lem, which means to put it on the back­burner un­til they think no one is pay­ing at­ten­tion and then try again. The deer saw right through that ruse and went back to eat­ing all the rhodo­den­drons they could find.

Things seemed well with Claude and friends un­til they heard re­cently that Gov. Nathan Deal has is­sued an ex­ec­u­tive or­der that would al­low deer hunters to bait fields in cer­tain parts of the state. That means hunters could put feed out and wait for an un­sus­pect­ing deer to show up for a free meal and then — well — shoot them dead.

Claude was livid. He said it is bad enough that some­body is al­ways try­ing to kill them and now they can’t even eat in peace. He had read where the prac­tice would likely mean large prof­its for landown­ers who run hunt­ing plan­ta­tions and as well as those who sell feed. Just like you hu­mans, he snapped, try­ing to make a buck off a buck. Claude can flat turn a phrase when he gets mad.

Claude wanted to know why Gov. Deal was in­volved. He said he had never per­ceived the gov­er­nor to be a big hunter, but as­sumed I knew him bet­ter than did the white­tails on Jekyll Is­land. I said I was at a loss to ex­plain his think­ing on this is­sue. The only thing I had ever known the gov­er­nor to kill was the work of his Ed­u­ca­tion Re­form Com­mis­sion of which I was a mem­ber. We ev­i­dently didn’t come up with the an­swers he wanted.

Oh, cry me a river, Claude said. When he killed the com­mis­sion’s work, did the gov­er­nor lay quar­ter-pounders on the floor and wait for com­mis­sion mem­bers to start munch­ing first? No, I said. He just took our re­port and left like he had a bus to catch. We had to buy our own quar­ter-pounders.

Claude said he and his col­leagues are con­vinced that Repub­li­cans are be­hind the baited-field scheme. Any­body that sup­ports tak­ing guns to church isn’t go­ing to get up­set with am­bush­ing a few deer.

They know Democrats are for gun con­trol, but most deer don’t like Democrats be­cause they are the party of big govern­ment. Claude says we al­ready have more govern­ment than we need.

Claude and his friends are feel­ing be­lea­guered right now. Try­ing to be help­ful, I told them I knew of one place where they would be safe from peo­ple try­ing to shoot them all the time. That was the Gold Dome. It seems that no­body can take a gun into the state Capi­tol. Claude asked if that meant they would have to hang around a bunch of politi­cians and lizard-loafered lob­by­ists all day. I said that was cor­rect.

Claude said he and the white­tails ap­pre­ci­ated my sug­ges­tion but they would rather take their chances with baited fields and over-ea­ger mem­bers of the Jekyll Is­land Au­thor­ity. There are some things even a be­lea­guered deer won’t do.

You can reach Dick Yar­brough at dick@ dick­yarbrough. com; at P.O. Box 725373, At­lanta, Ge­or­gia 31139 or on Face­book at www.face­book. com/dick­yarb

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