We've all got our crosses to bear over the holidays, whether it's late hours at work away from the kids, troubled family members, difficult financial situations or, in the case of certain individuals, actual crosses.
But woe are the people of La Plata County in southwestern Colorado, who can't even string up their Christmas lights or set out outdoor decorations -- something that the rest of us take for granted -- without having yet another thing to worry about: horny deer.
Last week, the Colorado Parks and Wildlife department warned Durango residents that since winter is coming, the night is dark and full of terrors -- particularly if you have antlers.
"Throughout Colorado, deer are entering the mating season and residents are reminded to put away equipment in which big game animals can become tangled," the department said in the written warning. "Residents are also asked to be careful how outdoor Christmas decorations are hung."
On November 8, a large mule-deer buck apparently got himself stuck in the ropes of a batting cage at Durango High School. Eventually, a wildlife officer had to cut off the animal's antlers in order to free it.
"Every year, big game animals get hung up in items such as volleyball nets, hammocks and Christmas ornaments," advised Matt Thorpe, area wildlife manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife in Durango. "When that happens, it's very stressful for the animal, sometimes fatal, and it can be dangerous for people."
Yeah, and if you're not careful, it can win you a trip back to Walmart for more lawn snowmen, icicle lights and blow-up Santas.
"Deer, especially bucks, are especially active at this time of year as they chase females and compete with other bucks," the department's advisory continued. "They are completely focused on 'the rut' and are less wary of human-made structures and vehicles."
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If only humans could use the same excuse.
Parks and Wildlife urged people across Colorado to be on the lookout for items that could cause problems, such as clotheslines, trampolines, low-hanging wires, swing sets, tomato cages, plastic fencing, chicken wire, bicycles and toys -- not to mention Christmas ornaments. Residents are "asked to exercise caution" regarding these troublemakers, the department advised. "Lights should be attached firmly to structures, or strung at least eight feet off the ground. Do not drape lights loosely on top of shrubbery or wrap lights around tree trunks."
But you don't want to make your yard too accommodating, either. Colorado doesn't need any of Santa's female reindeer stopping in Durango, meeting up with a horny buck and subsequently settling in the southwestern part of the state, dropping calves and pissing off Santa.
That would be naughty, not nice.