A new school year has begun here in Oxford and on the Ole Miss campus and there are 16,000 of them now. And that’s just the deer.
As you may have heard, the city of Oxford has decided it’s time to do something about the growing deer population in the city and on campus before someone gets seriously hurt or the deer start registering to vote. So the city has decided to issue special hunting permits to a select group of bow hunters to try and cull the herd within the city and in select locations on campus. The hunters have been issued special badges, supposedly so locals can tell the authorized deer hunters from just the regular crazies running around with bows and arrows.
Oxford and the surrounding area does have a deer problem. It sometimes seems the deer outnumber the people around here. I’ve seen bucks with bigger racks than some of the coeds lounging around the Ole Miss campus seemingly oblivious to the students coming and going around them.
I’ve had friends who’ve literally had run-ins with deer while driving around town resulting in serious damage, and not just to the deer. And deer ate my wife’s entire tomato crop this summer. (I suspect they’ve also broken into my house on several occasions and then consumed all of my beer. My wife’s not buying it, but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.)
I once was working on something in my driveway only to look up and see a doe standing 6 feet away from me just watching me work. She had that same look in her eye that I get from my wife sometimes when she thinks I’m not doing something right so I threw a wrench at her.
How this clash of man and nature plays out has yet to be determined. Already there are men in camouflage staking out spots for their blinds and stands around the area to begin taking out the deer.
No word yet on whether hunting will be allowed from the top deck of the city’s double-decker bus as it drives around town.
But my question is, why stop with the deer? In the few short years I’ve lived here the city, and the Ole Miss campus, have become more and more crowded and congested and little has been done by either to deal with the situation.
Enrollment skyrocketed here on campus this fall so much so that even the squirrels are moving someplace quieter.
So why not thin the student herd as well? I’m not talking about climbing a tree around the courthouse on the Square with a rifle on Thursday nights and shooting anything that moves wearing UGG boots and Polo shirts, as tempting as that might be.
But maybe higher admission standards might cull the herd and make things easier on all of us.
Marty Russell writes a Wednesday column for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at 222 Farley Hall, University MS 38677 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Marty Russell/NEMS Daily Journal