Jim Heffernan reports for the Duluth News Tribune
that: "Homeowners who decorate their yards with life-sized plastic deer are complaining the sculptures are being damaged by those stalking real deer during Duluth's special season for bowhunters."
That seems believable enough, but the article gets a little stranger with the first interviewee, Orval Pussywillow (that can't be a real name), whose "decorative doe, Felicity, had an arrow sticking out of her hind quarter,"
but whose "lawn ornament depicting the posterior of a fat woman bending over"
was unmolested. Other locals interviewed include Randy Waxwing, Thelma Twelvetrees, Msgr. Ernest X. Chasuble, and Professor Michael Angelo (head of the Sculpture and Human Sexuality Department at the Arrowhead College of Carnal Knowledge).
I like the part where Heffernan reports that "religious leaders are concerned that fake donkeys in Christmas nativity scenes will be shot at by hunters when churches erect creches on their lawns around Thanksgiving... Religious leaders said either the hunt should be suspended during the holidays or characters in the displays should be adorned with blaze orange garments."
So most of the article has to be a joke. However, I'm wondering if any of it is real. Was there really a report of a plastic deer shot by a hunter in Duluth? Or did Heffernan make the whole thing up?
Damnit, I want his job!
As far as the last name "Pussywillow" i would think it is possible, I've seen some pretty weird names out there.
The ornament of the fat lady bending over...I've seen them for sale around here, and I've even seen them in people's yards.
While we do look for scat, prints in the earth, and where they've scratched up against the saplings...those do not usually lead us to FAKE LAWN ORNAMENTS.
While drinking may be 'part' of hunting (I can't say I'd ever go out into the woods with a drunk person and GUN for crying out loud), it's just bad practice. Then again, I'm hunting in Florida, maybe we're smarter than your average bear.
All of the fake deer I've seen or heard of getting shot were hit by gunfire, though, not arrows. Bow hunting is fairly popular out here, but the only archery incident I recall hearing about was when some hunter managed to shoot himself through the shoulder with his own arrow (I have no idea how he managed that miraculous feat).
Professor Michael Angelo sounds made up. Crunch the name together and think "David" plus Arrowhead College in an article about bow hunters? Plus mixing sculpture and human sexuality as a department? Plus the obvious put on about a college of carnal knowledge? Someone had a good start, but a crappy finish in this one.
In London it's common to see London Underground signs with bulletholes in them, because they look like circular targets; but the gunmen aren't mistaking the signs for actual targets, they're just shooting them for the fun of it. The story loses any impact it might have had if we accept that the fake deer are being shot for fun, or maliciously.
I agree that the news story probably owes much of its content to pure imagination, but it does have at least an element of reality at its core.
Adrenaline/Budweiser/delusions of granduer/testosterone combined - makes sense.
I think the author of this article thinks the basic subject matter to be completely believable, too. Hell, he probably wrote it based on experience!
He's obviously not too bright, but I would guess that his line of thinking was 'I'm gonna write this seemingly sincere news article, make them wonder about it, and then reveal the joke when I quote Professor Michael Angelo's wacky commentery/credentials @ the end!'
Gosh golly gee, sculpture & human sexuality together in the same sentence?! What a crazy comic risk you've taken! I suppose he was also attempting 'irony' when quoting Michael Angelo as saying: 'plastic ornamental deer are an important part of American art on a par with department store mannequins.' Cause the real michelangelo would never say something so gosh darned crazy!
A bit of history, the city of Duluth has a fairly large deer population in the residential areas. I've looked out my window in the afternoon to see deer munching on plants in my garden. To address the problems created by these giant rats with antlers, the city decided to have an in town bow hunting only season with a limited number of permits issued.
The actual hunting was not being done in residential neighborhoods, but I live only a few blocks from one of the areas that people are allowed to hunt in.
Heffernan has often done humor columns in the past, and I would hope most people understood that. But as the saying goes, "When I was 20 I couldn't get anyone to take me seriously, now people take me seriously when I'm obviously joking."