Dodge, dammit, Bambi! Dodge!

Headed into Picayune yesterday evening, high traffic on north and southbound lanes, thankfully no one in center turning lane.

Still didn’t help.

The sun was down; you know the time. Everything seems the same color and only movement differentiates anything. Too late, our headlights picked up a doe as she bounded out from between businesses, businesses no less, and into the road. Hubby hit the brakes and went hard left into the turning lane, hoping she’d turn back. She didn’t, and if we went any further we’d be into oncoming traffic. It’s a difficult moment when you realize you’re going to hit an animal; instinctually you want to miss it. But any other evasive action would have caused a head on collision and harmed humans. She went down under our truck.

Hubby knows me; he found the nearest turnaround point and doubled back. I have a pistol, know how to use it, and refuse to let one of the Creator’s creatures suffer a lingering painful death just because it makes me nauseated to have to finish something messy. I was pretty sure discharging a firearm inside the city limits was an arrestable offense, but I was going to chance it. Maybe I could cry in front of the judge or something.

Got lucky last night. She was thoroughly dead on impact. No blood, not even any broken skin. Said a prayer of thanks for mercy shown to both of us.

What amazed me were the number of shiny, jacked-up, four-wheel-drive pickups that had already started circling like metallic, lazer-eyed vultures. Part of me suspects those tall waving rods attached to the sides are not truly whip antenna for CB radios. They are freakish instruments of communication between a sub species. Some pulled off the road and walked over to make  commiserative noises: after they’d shoved the bed of their truck clear. Gee, what did they intend I wonder?

Don’t get me wrong; I hunt. But it’s me and nature, one-on-one, and the deer or elk have home field advantage on me. I have physical problems that make me clumsy, so typically they hear me and run away laughing. The ones that don’t have to be deaf or retarded, so I figure I play a useful part in promoting Darwin’s theory by removing the inferior from the gene pool. But I only hunt in season. I play by the rules. Last night was not deer season.

Going to head off into a slight tangent, but bear with me a bit. For those offended by the fact I hunt, please read a little further. Standing in line at a sporting goods store I had a young woman butt into a conversation I was having with another hunter. She announced we were murderers and she didn’t eat meat. Being the reasonable-minded, pissy, smart-assed person I am when addressing the hypocritical, I looked down at her feet. I made sure I batted my eyelashes and used my softest, sweetest voice when I told her I admired her for using the farm that humanely harvested the leather for her shoes while the animal was under anesthesia; and would she please give me the answers to a couple of burning questions I had. Did they just let the holes in the shape of her feet heal naturally on the side of the cow after it was slashed out, or did they offer skin grafting to replace what she’d taken? And exactly what type of pain meds do they give the cow while it recovers? And where do the bandages to cover that large a wound come from?

Hey, is it my fault I dealt dice at an extremely busy casino for five years and my voice naturally carries to the four corners of the earth? You have not experienced bedlam until the base dealer on the left of you heard a different number called than the one on the right. So my diction is fairly distinct as well.

An older woman said I was mean to make her cry, and that people could buy meat at the grocery. She abandoned Miss Weepy to stomp off when I remarked “Oh, yeah. THERE’S a comforting mental picture. Cows driven in a continuous stream onto a  conveyor belt with cattle prods and whips, only to have some guy with what looks like an innocent hydraulic hand drill shoot a retractable four-inch spike into your skull. Just because it’s wrapped so neatly in cellophane in a refrigerated section of the store, people honestly belive they’re absolved of the death involved.” See, I can be reasonable.

Anyway, due to headlights from vehicles repeatedly circling us, Hwy. 43 was starting to look like the sole landing strip for an exorbitant number of low flying aircraft. It made me nervous when I recognized the same ones on their third of fourth trip past us standing in the middle of the road; only now they were staring. Hard. This was going to get personal before too much longer.

We had to get this doe off the road because she was large enough to cause a wreck from someone trying to dodge her. I hate a senseless, wasted death even if it was unpreventable, but it didn’t feel right letting one of this crowd have her.

That was when the angel appeared. In the form of a really old, frail woman who stopped in a time-battered but well cared for pickup. She was the only one who looked my hubby in the eye and said “That’s good meat, son. You don’t want to waste good meat. If I could get her home, my husband would clean her for us for the freezer, but I can’t lift her into my truck.” You could tell she’d appreciate it–and when I really looked at her, I noticed her clothes were clean but very worn. I believe in karma and cosmic justice. Maybe she needed meat and this was the way for the Creator to provide it.

Twenty-three years means hubby and I communicate fully with just glances, a tilt of the head, a lift of the brow or a slight nod.

Decision made.

I admit to being unreasonably gleeful, returning with a full grin the glare from the shiny-pickup-guy who smelled like a brewery when hubby made him help pick the deer’s body up and put her in the lady’s truck.

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5 Responses

  1. I KNEW I liked you! I believe in Karma and this was a good thing for this lady. I’m glad you went back and was going to put the doe out of her misery. God provides in strange ways sometimes and I’m sure this lady was the right one to end up with the doe. Well done, my friend.

  2. Okay, I really enjoyed this post. I’ve had run ins with does leaping across the road right in front of my Mustang before (yeah, I wouldn’t stand a chance) so I know that ‘Oh God please don’t let me hit it’ feeling. I haven’t yet and I say yet because I drive straight through wooded swamps twice a day to get to and from work. I see more dead alligators than anything else and that’s just scary.

    I don’t hunt, but the men in my family used to. I don’t think it’s cruel or inhumane as long as you’re not out there just shooting crap for the hell of it. If you aim your gun, put the animal down. Don’t let it suffer. That’s all I ask. I love nature and animals, but I also know they provide us food and have been doing so since the dawning of time. There’s nothing wrong with that, so I applaud your sweet comeback. Bravo!

  3. That is a wonderful story, and you have a thoroughly enjoyable voice.

    Now that I have found you, I’ll be checking back. Hope you blog often.

  4. What a great story!! Last year, a deer ran into the path of a large, fast-moving truck which hit it hard and threw it into my lane. On a dark night on a two lane isolated road, you pray that you can control the car and get to safe place to check the damage (had left my cell phone at home).

    The truck didn’t return so I stopped at the intersection up the road and called the Highway Patrol. To give you an idea of the location, the store/service station has a 15+ foot chicken sitting out front. All the folks there were on the cells calling home. Needless to say, when the officer arrived

  5. What a great story!! Last year, a deer ran into the path of a large, fast-moving truck which hit it hard and threw it into my lane. On a dark night on a two lane isolated road, you pray that you can control the car and get to safe place to check the damage (had left my cell phone at home).

    The truck didn’t return so I stopped at the intersection up the road and called the Highway Patrol. To give you an idea of the location, the store/service station has a 15+ foot chicken sitting out front. All the folks there were on their cells calling home. Needless to say, when the officer arrived the deer was gone.

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