Last night I received a call from my daughter, Sally, following an encounter she had with a deer standing in the road. The yearling buck was just standing in the road as if it had already met a taxidermist, not moving at all. Unlike me, who would never even consider approaching the beast, Sally, who owns and works with a dozen horses on her Equine Kingdom farm every day, got out of her car and went over to the deer. She cautiously reached out and petted it, and it remained motionless - not even a blink. It was in fact alive, but once she noticed the blood seeping from its nose and mouth, it was apparent that the poor thing had been hit by a vehicle and suffered from internal damage. Luckily, the event occurred at the end of the driveway of her friend's house, where she was headed. The woman and Sally cradled the ailing deer in their arms and shifted him to the edge of the road, where he then collapsed - still without a hint of life other than breath. A young guy in a pickup truck (we have lots of them here in North Carolina) stopped to help. Being a hunter, he examined the deer and determined that it was pretty much a goner. A few minutes later another truckload of guys stopped to help. The consensus was that there was nothing that could be done to help the deer, and the most humane thing to do was to put it down. To nobody's surprise, a hunting rifle was handily produced to do the grisly deed. Venison will be on the menu one night soon for someone.
That reminds me of an indecent that happened to me about 20 years ago. I was driving to work at Comsat when I spotted a deer in the middle of I-70. Sensing he was on the verge of making a bad decision, I hit the brakes. At about 10 miles per hour, the dang thing turned and jumped smack into my car (a cheap 1982 Ford Escort) and flipped onto the side of the road. He lived for just a few minutes. Being the pre-cellphone days, I had to wait for someone to notify authorities about the situation. Before a State Trooper arrived, a guy in a huge, broken down old Chrysler stopped and help me drag the deer farther from the roadway. He wanted me to help him throw the deer into his trunk so he could take it home. I told him that the police were on the way so he would have to wait. The Trooper had already called a crew from the zoo to come get the animal to feed to the lions - literally. Undaunted and a bit indignantly, the old boy chided the Trooper about giving perfectly good food to animals rather than allowing him to take it for his family to eat. The Trooper, to his credit, turned to me and said that since I had hit the deer (although the way I see it the deer hit me), the decision was mine as to its disposition. All three of us hefted the carcass into the voluminous trunk of the Chrysler and after thanking us for the help, he drove happily away with the rear end of his car noticeably weighted down. The Trooper handed me a certificate for the insurance company, and we both departed.
In case you were wondering, the damage was limited to a headlight assembly and grille. The insurance company cut me a check for about $400, and I subsequently went to the local junk yard and bought replacements for about $100 total.
Posted on January 7, 2015