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Oh, deer, they have a situation

February 19, 2004|by TIM ROWLAND

There's nothing I love more than a good deer story, so I was fascinated to read this week about Bucky, a young animal that was rescued from traffic by Starla and Kevin Hall of Hagerstown.

In a few brief days, the deer became something of a pet as the Halls tried to find someone to care for Bucky and give it medical attention.

Of course, Maryland being Maryland, there are about 75,926 laws on the books dealing with folks who happen to have a deer on their porch. Hopefully, state officials will find a satisfactory solution that won't involve deer bologna.

Kevin said they took the deer in because it was in traffic near Godlove's Liquors (When is the Godlove family going to open a lingerie store? It can't happen soon enough for me.) and appeared to be "confused." OK, confused, fair enough. But speaking from my own personal experience, I do not believe I have ever seen a deer that appeared to have a plan.

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Deer, to me, always look as if they have just at that very moment been beamed down from Mars. Organization does not appear to be a strength.

Although Bucky - if it had been a girl what do they name it, Jane Doe? - does seem to possess some rather extraordinary powers.

The first night in its new home, the deer managed to open the porch door and return to the wild and, more incredibly, later that night it returned and let itself back in.

"He got in and out and we haven't figured out (how) yet," said Starla.

There have to be about 10 billion dogs around the world that have to be amazingly steamed right about now. For five centuries, dogs everywhere have struggle unsuccessfully to understand doorknob technology, and here some stupid fawn strolls in and gets it on the first stab.

Must be some critter. If I'm the Halls, first thing I do is padlock the fridge.

Already, they say Bucky is much like a dog, in that it follows them around and enjoys being petted. Again, he has it down. All the perks of being a dog, without having to stoop to the indignity of learning to fetch.

Wildlife officials, of course, frown on making a deer too comfortable around the house, because it becomes all the harder for the animal to return and survive in the natural kingdom.

The deer becomes comfortable around humans and pretty soon he's expecting handouts, losing natural instincts, watching the morning talk shows, playing Xbox and generally forgetting what it's like to eat a cold shrub on a foggy morning.

I wish I could have helped the Halls in their admirable attempt to find the poor creature a good home. I suppose I could have offered to take it up to my folks' place in Berkeley Springs.

They already have a dozen or so; one more would hardly be noticed. Technically, they are not pets, although they might as well be. My brother-in-law was looking for a place to hunt over Thanksgiving, and I said he could use our place.

The benefit is that it would save the expense of ammunition. These deer are so tame, all it would take would be to hit them over the coconut with the stock.

No, tame isn't the word. They're more aggressive than that - always knocking on the door and demanding to know why no new rhododendrons have been set out for them to nibble, or crossly reminding the family that "the azaleas are getting tough" and lobbying for fresh shoots.

Last election, I think a couple of them were even caught trying to vote. But keep in mind, I heard that secondhand.

So I hope the Halls find a suitable situation for Bucky. After all, the message from the naturalists is a chilling one: The more time you spend around the human race, the less chance you have.




Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist.

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