Politics & Other Mistakes: Rise of the deer

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The Maine deer herd – some 300,000 strong – has never been more prepared for hunting season. That’s because these gentle woodland creatures have a scary new ally.

According to a reliable conspiracy theory (please turn off the oxymoron alarm), the deer have been arming themselves with Russian weapons, illegally imported by Kremlin-affiliated shell companies, in preparation for an assault on anyone who invades their domain. Highly placed state officials are said to have suppressed reports by wildlife biologists who have observed deer militia practicing guerilla warfare techniques in secluded parts of the Maine woods.

Al DiamonThe deer don’t even need the camo vests and pants the Russians sent. Blending into the background comes naturally.

That puts hunters at a serious disadvantage. Maine law requires them to wear blaze orange so they won’t get shot by other hunters. But that just turns them into easy targets for the Bambi brigade.

Wait. Aren’t deer supposed to be color blind? Not anymore. The Russkies have supposedly supplied them with special glasses that detect blaze orange. Night-vision goggles, too, so anyone planning to do a little poaching had better beware.

This shift in the forest power balance will likely have dire consequences. And that’s just what Vladimir Putin is counting on.

With hunters forced to dodge bullets, the number of deer taken this year is likely to hit an unprecedented low, far less than the 15,000 or so normally expected. Add to that, the rumor that the deer herd has acquired Siberian cold-weather gear, which could mean the survival rate this winter will be extraordinarily high. 

All those excess deer, wielding automatic weapons, will be moving into populated areas to forage for food. Expect to see barbed-wire barriers around every supermarket. It may also become all but impossible to get a restaurant reservation. Even if you do, venison won’t be on the menu.

With downtowns brought to a standstill by deer congestion, it’ll seem like tourist season all year round.

State officials appear to have been taken by surprise by this threat, with many bureaucrats displaying a look that could be characterized as “deer caught in the headlights.” A small herd of deer has been spotted grazing on the Blaine House lawn. Bucks and does have overwhelmed the Department of Labor’s website with demands for unemployment benefits. Forget about applying for food stamps; fawns have chewed up all the available stock. The Maine Turnpike Authority says it’s been unsuccessful in stopping deer in armored personnel carriers from driving through E-ZPass lanes, even though deer aren’t eligible for E-ZPass.

State police say they’ve asked the federal government for help in the form of airstrikes but were told those tactics didn’t do much to stop the Taliban and probably would be even less effective against forest creatures adept at concealment.

The deer assault on the state isn’t limited to military tactics. After coaching by their Russian puppet masters, at least three deer have taken out papers to run for the Portland City Council. More than two dozen are poised to seek legislative seats in 2022. And an antlered contender is said to be assessing his chances in the governor’s race.

All these potential candidates’ odds of winning their elections may be bolstered by a surge in voter registrations, many of them promoted by Kremlin-affiliated websites such as “RevengeforBambi’sMom.com.” The Office of the Secretary of State doesn’t track the species of recent registrants, but several town clerks report that numerous new voters appear to be – in the words of one distressed clerk – “deer wearing dark glasses, trench coats, and fedoras with tags that say ‘Made in Moscow.’”

Political commentators are divided on whether newly elected deer would push the state to the left or right, with some citing the Russian influence, while others believe the herd’s natural tendency to be free of government intervention will prevail. A spokesdeer would only say that all the candidates supported efforts to control disease-bearing ticks and favored a measure to outlaw the sale of deer urine.

A deer takeover of Maine’s political apparatus has been characterized as a scary proposition, but there’s also a more philosophical view. As one observer put it, “They probably won’t do a worse job of running the place than people.”

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