- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Here we go again this fall, trying not to play a form of bumper cars with the ever-burgeoning, mating-obsessed deer population in the Washington region.

Guns sometimes kill Bambi, and Bambi sometimes kills motorists, specifically two last month in Maryland.

Officials in Maryland and Virginia have taken to stating the obvious, namely that the region is overrun with deer, with as many as 1.3 million deer in the two states, more than twice as many as in 1600.

The result is equally obvious. All too many deer wind up as impromptu ornaments on the front bumper of automobiles, but only if you are lucky. A few wind up as passengers in the front seat of a vehicle.

None of this, of course, persuades the weepy souls with the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, none of whom has ever met a critter that could not provoke a tear in their eyes.

These extremists even have rules on how to deal with the problem of rat infestation, which goes something like this: Catch them, pet them and, if necessary, French kiss them before releasing them into the wild.

Well, we all can try to get along, no doubt, until there is a big, old buck, all fired up, running out into a roadway unannounced before bouncing off your vehicle.

There goes the front end of your vehicle, and there goes about a week with no wheels.

This is fairly elementary stuff.

Either we the people need to move from the area or the deer need to be removed from the area. Otherwise, we are doomed to dance with the deer, especially each fall at the height of the mating season.

Here’s the deal: Driving is a dangerous enough activity in the Washington area without having to contend with the element of deer.

Not too many years ago, you rarely saw deer lurking near roadways. Now you rarely can drive without spotting a couple of them by a roadway.

Deer have become so prolific that you even know where to look for them.

They loiter off the Dulles Toll Road near Wolf Trap Farm Park in Vienna. They have found a hospitable home in the forests along the Baltimore-Washington Parkway. They can be spotted with regularity up and down Interstate 95 between Washington and Baltimore near the Patuxent River.

The mostly two-lane section of Route 15, between Leesburg, Va., and Frederick, Md., is deer alley. You drive at your own risk between those two outposts. Great Falls, on both sides of the Potomac River, is another roll-the-dice proposition.

These four-legged pests — and that is what they have become — are liable to pop up anywhere, even in the city, especially in Rock Creek Park. If you recall, one out-of-sorts deer dropped into a fast-food restaurant along New York Avenue NE last year.

Yes, we know already. Deer are adorable. They mean no harm. They just want to graze, have a few offspring and chill out. On their best days, they allow us to be at one with nature in some small way.

Beautiful. Wonderful. Now back to the real world.

Deer have no business being allowed to proliferate around the heavily traveled roadways in the Washington area, and local political leaders have been derelict in their duties in dealing with the problem. In their case, they find it easier to do nothing and hope the problem disappears on its own than go up against the public relations-savvy pressure groups who cry at the mention of controlled hunts.

In fact, between sobs that irrigate the land around them, these groups contend that deer hunts serve no purpose and that hunters are one step up from cannibals.

Venison is bad for you. Meat is bad for you. Milk is bad for you. Even breathing is bad for you.

Oh, stop. We get it already.

These groups have a zillion deer-culling ideas, from fencing to repellents, from planting vegetation the deer dislike to contraception, without specifying who picks up the tab on these measures.

So in the end, the absurdity persists, and we play dodge ball of sorts on roadways that permit vehicles to travel at speeds up to 65 mph.

People end up in the hospital, or worse, and the pressure groups light a candle in memory of the fallen deer.

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