>Of Deer and Beavers

>On the one hand, I killed a deer. It’s no endangered species, but I still feel terrible about it. I had been at a long meeting at the county government center, and instead of taking the expressway home, which I usually do, I took the by-pass that goes around the west side of Staunton. It was a dark night but because there was intermittent on-coming traffic I wasn’t using my brights. And then suddenly there was a deer right in front of me (I think she was bringing up the rear of a group, if my peripheral vision memory is accurate). Bam. Not quite like hitting a brick wall, but it was a solid direct hit. No doubt the deer died instantly, but I didn’t see what happened to her. I kept going but I heard something banging against the side of the Jeep (I pictured a deer leg, I confess) so I pulled over and got out. The banging was caused by a loose plastic strip that had snapped loose when the bumper cracked on impact with the deer. I pulled it free, threw it in the back, and got back in. The gauges on the dash weren’t functioning, and I suppose I shouldn’t have driven, but I did. I hurried home, got out of the car, and didn’t look back. (It’s still in the driveway, awaiting the arrival of the claims adjustor.) I’m lucky that I was in the Jeep instead of the Saab, because that deer might have gone through the Saab’s windshield.

I feel bad about the deer, though. I guess insurance will take care of the Jeep, but the deer is now food for the vultures. And speaking of which, yesterday afternoon I noticed that there was a dead deer in my pasture. It was pretty far from the road so it might have made its way there after being injured, or possibly it was shot from the road—that’s not uncommon, unfortunately.

On the other hand, the beaver pond looks good. I went down there this afternoon and it seems deeper than it was last time I was there, and the dam is looking quite solid. I still haven’t seen the beavers, although I did see a muskrat in the pond the other day.

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  1. >I have never hit a deer, and hope I never do. They are beautiful creatures. I went deer hunting several times back in the late 70s. I enjoyed getting up early with my buddies, having a hot breakfast, coffee, then heading out into the darkness to my pre-planned location, where I would sit and wait for the sun and the deer. I got my first clear shot on the last hunting trip I ever made. A young buck popped over a hill, proud but weary. I watched him through the sights of my rifle while he came closer. I finally lowered my rifle and watched him until he topped another hill and disappeared. Then what sounded like a small war broke out. I waited a few moments; then gathered myself and walked out of the woods.

    I have nothing against hunting dear to help control the population and to put meat on the table, but I decided it just wasn’t for me. After that day, I hunted during the off-season with my camera.

  2. >Thanks, Ryan.

    Kevin, I agree. I don’t object to others hunting (as long as the meat is eaten), but I’m not interested myself. I’m very fond of the deer who come into my yard and I’m always pleased when my dog and I come across one when we’re walking in the woods. (The dog is even more pleased, although the deer probably isn’t.) So, I’m still sad about being responsible for the death of a beautiful animal.

    Elizabeth, I found it hard to sleep that night, but I’m better now!

  3. >I’m sorry to hear about the mixture of mostly unhappy emotions you experienced. What helps me sometimes is to write about them. I hope I don’t sound like a ghoul, but for me the writing becomes a catharsis, I think.

  4. >I’m just glad you’re OK, Cliff. Deer collisions are no joke–we’ve racked up 3 in our extended family, one with some injuries (to the human beings) involved.


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