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Deer Hunting Alaska Style
by Roger Freed

It was really, seriously embarrassing.

We had taken an old buddy from Minnesota, Bob, with us hunting. In his left hand he clutched a creature that looked a lot like a tawny, hairy, camouflaged Cannon beach towel with a head attached to it.

"You guys have the nerve to call this thing a deer?" he said. I feel like a I just shot Bambi! If McDonalds had to survive selling the meat off these things they'd go bankrupt!"

Bob had a point. He had just experienced his first Sitka deer. Alaska is known for its huntable, large, fur bedecked quadrapeds. Most of them are good targets like bears, moose, caribous and overweight cruise ship tourists. Alaska is famous as the behemoth Happy Hunting Grounds open to everyone. Sitka deer, however, don't hold up their end of the contract. Sitka deer are the wimps of the woods. They are lithe, graceful creatures who somehow manage to survive in a wilderness teeming with much larger and not so graceful monstrocities fitted with fangs and claws that are like deer Cuisinarts. Sitka deer are sort of like Smurfs at a Klingon convention- they don't belong here.

This is all really shattering to the world's image of Alaskan hunting. Hunters like Bob are used to hunting deer like they have in Minnesota, so big that John Wayne could rope and ride 'em. They are horribly offended when they see the size of Alaskan deer and often think we are holding out on them. Outdoorsmen coming to Alaska expect the critters here to be big, hairy and mean, including the women. On Sitka deer the bullets carry away more meat than there is left on the carcass. Sitka deer look downright anorexic.

How did this come to be? I have a theory: Paleontologists in Ireland have found skeletons of deer there that were 18 feet high and had antlers 12 feet across. I believe that when Noah dropped anchor and started booting the animals off of his ark after the flood that he accidentally dropped the deer meant for Alaska in Ireland and we got theirs. The Irish certainly didn't need deer that big, although they might have helped during the potato famine. They would have made fine Alaskan deer, though, perhaps even intimidating the moose at 18 feet high. Substituting them with Sitka deer is like substituting Sponge Bob Square Pants as a stand-in for the Hulk.

Of course it is difficult to do something about it. The Irish deer are extinct and we have to deal with what we got. I believe it is in Alaskas best interest and good for the protection of its image if we would do something with these creatures. What about those steroids everybody in baseball is hooping about? Send 'em up here! We'll just spike the food chain with it and hope the grizzlies don't get to it first (Actually, maybe it wouldn't be so bad if they did- we could start African-style big game hunting here.). Or we could bring up some Hollywood make-up artists and have them buff them up a bit like they did with Ben Stiller in that 'Dodgeball' movie or Eddie Murphy in that 'Nutty Professor' flick.

I often wonder if there were big deer here at one time and the Natives hid them back in the woods so that the Russians wouldn't get them. The Russians would come along and say "Where's the deer?" and the Natives would point to the Sitka deer and say "That's them!" They were probably surprised when the Russians shot them anyway. Meanwhile the bears were making munchies out of the real deer.

Anyway, we should really do something about it. We can't be known as the state of wussy deer. Wussy politicians maybe, wussy environmental controls perhaps, but, by Jehovah, NOT wussy critters! Lets get a grant writing project going for the importation of Minnesota deer or for the impregnation of our deer with muskox and really get things going! And while we're at it lets import a few of them armadillo things just 'cause they're cool.