Bil Lepp: South Charleston deer might as well own homes (Opinion)

Do you have deer in your yard? I have deer in my yard. I live in South Charleston, and there are more deer on our street than there are in Tucker County.

The deer in our neighborhood have no idea that they are prey animals. They don’t even know they are wild animals.

Last week, three deer bought a house down the street. My daughter left her cellphone outside. The deer found it, stole her identity, and got a loan from Rocket Mortgage. I wave at the buck each night as I pass his house while I’m walking the dog. He’s generally on the front porch smoking a cigar, knocking back a few and using Rosetta Stone to learn English.

Those deer planted tomatoes in their garden. I snuck into their yard and ate those tomatoes and the deer had the temerity to snort at me.

Turns out, my pal Phil transitioned from deer to human 10 years ago.

“Is this person a deer?” is the real question we need added to the census here in South Charleston.

Something like 36 percent of mammals on Earth are humans, about 60 percent are livestock and only about 4 percent of mammals are wild animals. Bats make up an astounding 25 percent or so of all wild mammals, and the rest of the wild animals on Earth are deer — and they’re all in South Charleston.

Roughly 70 percent of birds are chicken or poultry, the other 30 percent of birds are also deer in South Charleston.

The other night, my buddy Toad Gilky hit a deer on our street. Rear-ended him. Toad threw his car into reverse so he could check the damage and backed into another deer. Both deer had valid driver’s licenses, and Toad’s insurance had to pay for the damage to their cars.

Oh, the little fawns are cute, but this is a serious problem. Deer are supposed to be wild animals. They are supposed to be scared of carnivores, like humans and dogs. They are not supposed to stand on the deck and watch American Ninja Warrior through the window.

The Indiana Division of Fish & Wildlife published findings in their Urban Deer Technical Guide that included mentions of does that have attacked dogs in Bloomington, Indiana, and deer attacks on humans on the campus of Southern Illinois University. The guide states: “Urban deer accustomed to human presence essentially have lost fear of humans and no longer view them as a threat, which increases the probability that a negative human-deer interaction will occur.”

I’m going to be very embarrassed if I get beat up by a deer.

The ticks that carry Lyme disease prefer deer as their hosts.

Deer can eat 5-10 pounds of forage a day. In this case, ‘forage’ means everything you bought at Lowe’s in May.

Deer congregate in areas where there is food, then they clear-cut the food source. Deer can eat so much brush that certain songbirds have to leave the area because they have been deprived of their habitat.

Once the deer have eaten everything, including the dog food and bird seed you leave out, then there is an over-population of deer and nothing left to eat. So the deer starve to death or get hit by cars crossing the street to find greener pastures.

Chronic Wasting Disease causes drastic weight loss and neurological problems in deer. It looks miserable and is fatal. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, CWD is “likely spread between animals through body fluids like feces, saliva, blood, or urine, either through direct contact or indirectly through environmental contamination of soil, food or water. Once introduced into an area ... the CWD protein is contagious within deer ... populations and can spread quickly. Experts believe CWD prions can remain in the environment for a long time, so other animals can contract CWD from the environment even after an infected deer ... has died.”

CWD is in West Virginia. The more deer you have in your backyard, the better the chance of you getting Lyme disease and them contracting CWD.

The city of South Charleston needs a broader urban deer hunt.

Nobody wants crazy Uncle Kevin roaming the streets with a rifle, but we could use bows. Yes, compound bows are super dangerous. The arrow leaves the bow at like 800,000 miles per hour and the broadhead would likely embed in your car door. A stray arrow could easily kill a human being, so we don’t want everybody out in the yard launching arrows.

However, there are enough bow hunters in West Virginia to conquer Medieval France. Can’t we figure out a way to safely deploy a few of these folks around South Charleston neighborhoods and curb what is becoming a crisis of deer overpopulation in urban and suburban areas?

Bil Lepp, of South Charleston,

is a professional story teller and

a Gazette-Mail contributing columnist.

Funerals for Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Adkins, Kenneth - 11 a.m., Evans Funeral Home Chapel, Chapmanville.

Carney, Herman - 11 a.m., Poca United Methodist Church, Poca.

Chrislip, David - 11 a.m., Elk Funeral Home, Charleston.

Coon, Iverson - 2 p.m., Pleasant Grove Church, Reedy.

Fisher, Delmer - 1 p.m., Long and Fisher Funeral Home, Sissonville.

Frame, Joe - 2 p.m., Elk Hills Memorial Park, Big Chimney.

Gibson, Floyd - 1 p.m., Stevens & Grass Funeral Home. Malden.

Harmon-Ray, Barbara - 11 a.m., Handley Funeral Home, Danville.

Kennedy, Eva - 11 a.m., Christ Church United Methodist, Charleston.

Patton, Loretta - 1 p.m., Good Shepherd Mortuary, South Charleston.

Peters, Bobby - 2 p.m., Handley Funeral Home, Danville.

Phillips, William - 3 p.m., Hafer Funeral Home, Elkview.

Ritchie, Juanita - 8 p.m., Roush Funeral Home, Ravenswood.

Scott, Jimmie - 11 a.m., Tyler Mountain Memory Gardens, Cross Lanes.

Taylor, Kenneth - 1 p.m., Waters Funeral Chapel, Summersville.

Tribble, Harvey - 1 p.m., Raynes Funeral Home, Buffalo.

Williamson, Grayson - 11 a.m., Anderson Funeral Home, New Haven.