To the editor:
As a frequent visitor to Cody, I was surprised when I did not see any deer on my last visit.
After asking about the missing animals, I was told that the city council decided to kill half the herd to appease angry residents. According to disgruntled homeowners, deer eat landscape plants, disrupt traffic, frighten small dogs and startle meter readers. Before making their decision, the mayor and council members hosted public forums and endorsed a survey to gather opinions about the deer population. The discussions and survey basically revealed an even split between pro-deer and anti-deer factions.
After considering both arguments, I believe the city council focused primarily on the details of complaints and overlooked the big picture of Cody’s uniqueness. Rather than viewing deer as nuisance animals, the council should regard the deer as ambassadors of Cody.
Much of Cody’s charm is the Western mystique of rawhide, cowboys, and wilderness. The deer symbolize an extension of the natural resources that people come to Cody to experience. As a visitor, I would much rather talk with a cowboy or see a deer in town than watch a fake gunfight at the Irma Hotel. The cowboy and deer are real. This is Wyoming. No, this is Cody, Wyoming.
The paradox is that Cody’s city council decided to limit and possibly destroy one the city’s major assets. Cody stands in a position to foster the perception of rugged individualism or relent to the ease of mediocrity. With a managed herd of 300 deer, Cody can be seen as a unique city proud of its Western heritage, respectful of its natural resources, and forward-thinking in its development of a sustainable environment which blends people and wild animals. Without the deer herd, Cody is simply another historic city with nice residential landscapes. Yawn.
(s) dr. kim cousins