Plastic Deer Threatened in City Hunt
by Jim Heffernan
(This column originally appeared in the Duluth News Tribune on Sunday, September 25, 2005 and is also reprinted in my book, Cooler Near the Lake. The column created quite a stir nationally when some took it seriously. (Click HERE) I guess this might be considered some of that "outrageous nonsense" I'm accused of writing every now and again. Enjoy the hunt. Jim)
Here’s the latest fair and balanced news…
Homeowners who decorate their yards with life-sized plastic deer are complaining the sculptures are being damaged by people stalking real deer during Duluth’s special season for bowhunters.
“My decorative doe, Felicity, had an arrow sticking out of her hind quarter,” Orval Pussywillow of Hunter’s Park complained yesterday. “This has got to stop. We paid good money for our beautiful deer.” Pussywillow said his four plastic pink flamingos and a lawn ornament depicting the posterior of a fat woman bending over were unmolested.
Local police said they have received numerous complaints from throughout the city that plastic deer are being shot with arrows by hunters mistaking them for the real thing. One citizen, who declined to be identified “because I work with a bowhunter,” said she has outfitted her plastic deer with blaze orange vests to protect them from arrows.
Randy Waxwing, spokesman for the Lake Superior Spear, Boomerang & Bowhunters Ltd., said residents with plastic deer in their yards should remove them from now through season’s end December 31st to protect them during the municipal bowhunting season. “You can’t blame our people for shooting plastic deer; they’re so lifelike. Many of our own members have plastic deer themselves as inspiration for hunting season. Hunters love deer; that’s why we kill them.
Waxwing did point out that association members are complaining to him that their hunting arrows are being blunted by hitting plastic deer and not the soft flesh of real deer. “It’s a two-way street,” he said. “Good hunting arrows cost plenty.”
Thelma Twelvetrees of Thelma’s Yard, Garden and Southern Belle Figurine Emporium, which sells ornamental deer, said sales are down since the city bowhunting season was announced. “People don’t want to fork over good money for plastic deer only to have them shot full of arrows,” she said. It was not known how the decline in faux deer sales would affect city sales tax receipts.
Meanwhile, Msgr. Ernest X. Chasuble said religious leaders are concerned that fake donkeys in Christmas nativity scenes will be shot at by hunters when churches erect crèches on their lawns beginning around Thanksgiving. “Also wise men riding camels. What if they hit a wise man? Or the Holy Mother, for that matter?” Chasuble asked.
Concern about safety around Christmas crèches outside local churches was seconded by Worship Duluth, successor organization to the Duluth Church and Sunday School Bureau, in a news release. “The Christmas message of ‘Peace on Earth’ is diluted when you find arrows sticking in outdoor religious displays,” the news release stated. Religious leaders said either the hunt should be suspended during the holidays or characters in the displays should be adorned with blaze orange garments.
Officials also predict that ornamental reindeer in secular home displays will be affected.
Finally, Professor Michael Angelo, head of the Sculpture and Human Sexuality Department at the Arrowhead College of Carnal Knowledge, said plastic ornamental deer are an important part of American art on a par with department store mannequins. “I once saw a fake deer with a nude female mannequin astride it. Priceless,” said Angelo, 43, who is registered with the police.
Film at 10.