So, how was your Christmas? Did Santa visit your house this year?
If he did, you obviously don't live anywhere near Bountiful.
Because, according to my sources at the North Pole, rumors were flying all month that Santa and his reindeer would be skipping the southern Davis County city this year.
Why? Too dangerous.
And that's saying something, considering that Santa routinely takes his sleigh full of valuables into extremely unsafe places. Detroit. Miami. The parking lot of the Harrisville Walmart.
What gives? Why the Bountiful snub this holiday season? Frankly, Santa couldn't be guaranteed that there wouldn't be some sharpshooter lurking in the shadows, waiting to plink a few reindeer off of Bountiful residents' rooftops.
Sorry, Bountifulonians, but the word is definitely out on the street: Deer simply aren't welcome in your redneck of the woods.
Two months ago, Bountiful and the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources entered into a "memorandum of understanding" to reduce the population of deer within the city limits by the end of the year. In other words, the city took out a contract on our ruminant friends, and the DWR agreed to act as hit man.
Talk about your War on Christmas ...
OK, sure. Officials keep trying to point out that it's mule deer they're after, not reindeer. But don't kid yourselves. Deers is deers.
The only reason these deer death squads haven't gone after Santa's trusty team already is because Dasher et al. aren't roaming free within the city limits. But I guarantee, the first time Blitzen turns up munching on some East Bencher's ornamental landscaping, they'll be mounting his head on the mayor's wall faster than you can say "And to all a good night."
Protesters have asked the city to consider alternatives to popping a cap in Bambi's white tail -- things like fencing, repellents, relocation, even various methods of birth control. But thus far, those pleas have fallen on deaf ears.
Ah, but just because officials have been deaf on this issue doesn't mean they've been mute. In a Dec. 18 article in the Standard-Examiner, the DWR's Phil Gray gamely tried to explain how shooting the deer was the best method for culling the herd. And in an apparent attempt to pacify some of the protesters, according to the S-E story, "Gray noted no adult bucks were killed, only does and fawns."
Oh, well, of course. Only the women and children of the species are being targeted. When you put it that way, it sounds soooo much better.
OK, I sense that this deer situation has become a powder keg, and certainly someone needs to defuse this thing. But why am I always the go-to guy for solving everyone's problems, huh? (Pregnant pause.) All right, fine. I'll do it. Here's my solution ...
Right now, near as I can tell, we've got two vexing deer problems facing us here in the Beehive State.
VEXING DEER PROBLEM NO. 1: The city of Bountiful has an overabundance of deer and is struggling with how to get rid of them.
VEXING DEER PROBLEM NO. 2: DWR officials recently arrested members of a suspected poaching ring that has been illegally killing deer and elk in the East Canyon area near Morgan.
There you have it. Two completely different -- yet equally troubling -- deer problems facing us this winter. On the one hand, you have a situation where government officials want deer to be shot. On the other, you've got government officials wanting people to stop shooting deer.
So then, what's the solution? Anyone? Anyone?
Golly, if only there were a way to kill two birds with one stone, so to speak. If only we could come up with a solution that would solve both problems. Hmmm, what on earth could possibly be done about these two seemingly unrelated issues? I mean, it's just a shame someone can't think of something to ...
... OH, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD, PEOPLE! DO I HAVE TO CONNECT THE DOTS FOR YOU?
Look, the answer is patently obvious: Namely, one man's poaching is another man's animal control.
You simply give the poachers a new ZIP code from which to work, and -- voila! -- both problems resolve themselves. The poachers get to fill their sick need to kill things for trophy purposes, and Bountiful residents get their precious ornamental landscaping back.
Why, it's nothing short of a post-Christmas miracle.
Just don't come crying to me next year when Santa fills all your stockings with coal.
Great band names, continued: Deer Death Squad. Contact Mark Saal at 801-625-4272 or firstname.lastname@example.org.