Is there a deer alcohol issue?

By Steve Estes

Some things just make you wonder….what is really going on here?

I’ve been thinking that for several weeks now about a particular empty lot on Avenue A in Big Pine Key.

I drive past that area nearly daily, either to and from our daughter’s place down the road, or to call on clients in that area.

The particular lot is an empty one that is between what was once an operating bar and grill, and what is now an operating restaurant and bar. Anyone who drives that area regularly knows the lot, for those who don’t regularly drive that area, it’s an empty lot between what used to be the Big Pine House of Music and may soon reopen into another restaurant, and what was once Key Deer Bar and Grill and is now Golden Margarita.

When both of those establishments were running full-steam ahead, that lot was often used for overflow parking. And on any given weekend, that lot was used for community benefits or events.

Hundreds of people would be lounging around on that lot, or walking across it, or leaning on parked cars there.

One thing every person around these parts knows is that just about every community event or community benefit involves some kind of alcoholic beverage being served, and hundreds of people imbibing those particular alcoholic beverages.

When you get alcohol served, generally in paper or plastic cups, to people who aren’t always extremely cognizant of how much of that beverage they have imbibed, some of that alcoholic beverage winds up getting spilled on whatever that person is walking on, be it grass, wood or concrete.

The difference between the former and the latter two is that the former soaks up the spill and no clean up is required.

The alcoholic beverage, however, remains in the ground until washed away in some fashion.

That brings up an interesting situation.

Nearly every day when I drive by that lot, there are from two to 10 Key Deer in that lot. Sometimes it looks as though they are munching grass. Other times it looks as though they are drinking from puddle water on the ground.

But are they?

So me thinks…and that’s a scary thought…what if the deer aren’t munching on the grass for actual sustenance, but rather are eating the grass shoots because they are soaked in spilled alcoholic beverages from the ground?

And what if the deer aren’t actually drinking pooled water from the ground, but instead are feasting on the spilled alcoholic beverages that have soaked into and then risen from the ground after all those years of special events?

Now we take this a step further.

A Key Deer probably only weighs less than 100 pounds even if it’s really big. According to the alcohol-imbibing chart that tells folks when they should stop drinking, a Key Deer could have the equivalent of one beer in an hour and reach the legal limit where they couldn’t drive.

Of course, Key Deer don’t drive. But they do walk on the road, run across the road, or stand in the middle of the road.

So do we have a Key Deer alcoholics’ problem?

Do we have a bunch of Key Deer on Big Pine that are tossing some kind of wild parties on Avenue A on an almost nightly basis? Do those parties end with a bunch of drunk deer staggering, perhaps to their deaths, onto US 1 in front of onrushing missiles of Detroit iron?

And if this is the case, how do we combat this rising occurrence of alcoholism among our friendly endangered species?

Will it be necessary to, so to speak, cut off the tap on these four-legged guzzlers, digging up the empty lot and replacing it with some impermeable surface where past alcohol spillage can’t rise back to the surface, or where alcohol-sodden plants can’t again rise skyward to feed the deer’s new addiction?

Will we be forced to do the unthinkable and hire a deer whisperer who can counsel our furry friends on the evils of unlimited alcohol intake?

This can grow into a serious issue. It’s something we must address.

Or, we can all just join the deer in eating the grass and drinking the alcohol-sodden water until the supply is dry.

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