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Ehhh — What's up, Doc?

By Paul Viau | Aug 08, 2013
Photo by: File photo TOO CUTE; TOO MANY — Lack of predators has the Haywood County bunny population really hopping.

Call me an Elmer Fuddy-Duddy, but am I the only person asking myself, “Where did all those ‘wascally wabits’ come fwom?”

During previous summers, I could drive/coast down my subdivision road and see ‘nary a single rabbit.” And I could drive the whole length of Ratcliff Cove Road, and see about the same number of wild rabbits as VW Rabbits — None. (Sorry, Volkswagen.)

This year, every time I go down the road — any road — I have to be poised to brake, brake, swerve or otherwise take evasive action. Cute, little bunnies are lurking around every bend, waiting to hurl or hop under my wheels.

To date, I haven’t hit a single rabbit. That’s because the Viau Critter Driving Code states specifically — (1) Brake for bunnies, kitties and puppies (Basically, anything that ends in the letters “ies”; (2) Slow to a crawl (Or should I say, “Gobble?) for all turkeys; and (3) Squirrels — aka “Tree Rats” — Well, I think you know where I stand on that subject.

Anyway, I have to use all of my driving skills to avoid all of the bunnies along the roadways of Haywood County. Troubled by the rise in rabbit residents, I spoke to Bill Skelton, Director of the Haywood County Center and Agriculture Extension Office. He had a simple, scientific explanation for the increased numbers of rabbits, “Lack of predation.”

Another agricultural expert, Gwen Norris, chief horticulturist at Maggie Valley Club and Resort, had the same answer, except put it simply and a with local color, “There just ain’t enough coyotes around these parts any more.”

I’m guessing bunnies would be a wonderful appetizer for a coyote, and there are enough of them around to make “heavy appetizers” for a whole pack of coyotes. Sadly, however, it’s been “Open Season” on coyotes in recent years, and farmers and ranchers have greatly reduced the coyote population.

Ground squirrels are also among the coyote’s favorite prey. If only coyotes could ‘branch out” and develop climbing skills — I’d have more birds (and fewer squirrels) living off my feeders. I guess that’s just wishful thinking.

Back to the subject of the bountiful bunnies, I once had the pleasure of meeting the great voice actor, Mel Blanc, who was the voice of Bugs Bunny for over 50 years.

I had him in the studio to record a radio commercial featuring the voice magic of another Warner Brothers cartoon character, Tweety Pie.

Unknown to me, Mel had lost much of his upper range in later years.

But the studio technicians could come to his recue and bring the voice recording up to the top secret “Tweety Speed.”

It was still quite an honor to meet the man who had voiced so much of my “Loonie Toon” life.

These days, it’s live critters that are driving me “Loonie Tunes.” But I’m happy that I can still close my eyes and hear the voices of characters like Elmer Fudd.

I have to be especially careful when I’m driving, lest I start singing along to the the classic cartoon “What’s Opera, Doc?” where Elmer Fudd sings to Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries” — “Kill the wabbit, Kill the wabbit.”

Sorry for yet another digression.  The good news is, “That’s all folks.”