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When I went to Jackson Hole, Wyo., near Teton and Yellowstone national parks, I saw hundreds of elk in the National Elk Refuge on the seven-mile drive into town from the airport. Around town, there were scores of mule deer feeding on the banks beside the roads, even one walking down the sidewalk one night. We had to slow down for bison to cross the road.
We saw a moose and her calf browsing on the trees in Dick Cheney's exclusive neighborhood. On the way to dinner, people were stopped to photograph two moose feeding through the snow just off the shoulder. My son sent me a picture of a moose looking into his house through the window. Elk bed down in the sand traps on the golf course. The animals are protected in town.
People come from all over the world to enjoy this experience, and the real estate prices rival those in Manhattan.
In Gainesville, it is becoming common to see deer, including some bucks that have been able to grow big antlers. They are unafraid of people. They eat some homeowners' flowers and tempt illegal hunters.
Our city government's response is to regard these animals as pests and to have them killed. They want to let buckmaster wannabes who either cannot kill a wild deer or who are not satisfied with the legal limit of 12 dress up in camouflage and hide in the backyard swing set. Some fancy themselves as professional hunters and want to be paid like safari guides. They sound more like hit men.
Our leaders outlawed skateboarding instead of trying to catch the vandals. They want to kill the deer instead of arresting illegal hunters.
With this logic what's next? Closing the city streets to stop drunk drivers?
Our natural resources are what make Gainesville more enjoyable than the concrete and congestion at the Mall of Georgia. Let's protect them, not destroy them.
William S. Hardman