Monday, September 15, 2008

Fear of Deer

We live in a rural area. There are a lot of cattle farms and a lot of wooded acres around. Even the subdivisions that exist must, by county law, have no less than 3 acres per plot. Most average over 7 and market themselves as 'estates'. So there is a lot of room for wild animals to roam and roam they do.

Unfortunately that roaming involves crossing roads and deer don't seem to get the 'look both ways first' rule of road crossing. They just merrily leap out from the undergrowth and trot right across the road without thought of oncoming cars. This is very unnerving if you are driving the oncoming car. It's even more unnerving if you are driving a 7 year old car that has already had 2 front end collisions that ought to have totaled the car, but mysteriously didn't, and you are fairly sure you will not get away with it a third time. Oh, and you are in no position to take on a car payment right now thankyouverymuch.

I spend this time of year driving in fear of deer. Keep you eyes on the road? Oh hell no. Keep you eyes on the tree lined side of the road. That is where the danger lies. I drive on roads full of bends and slight rises where anything could be waiting just out of sight. The slight rise was what hid the large broken tree branch that cause my second collision in 2006. That branch hadn't been there 30 minutes earlier when I came though & it was not a windy day. Nor was there a tree of appropriate size anywhere in the area. I was going the regulation 35MPH when I came over the rise, saw the branch and WHAM! there went my bumper into my radiator which pushed itself into my engine which shift back into the air conditioner and did all hell's worth of damage to the frame and the underside of the car.

My insurance company gave serious thought to calling the car totaled, given it's age, the amount of damage & the fact that this was the second time the frame had been bent to hell (the first time was in 2002 when a large tarp wrapped bundle fell off the back of a semi right in front of me, in the middle of traffic on the interstate, with no where to swerve to & anyway I'd have caught the tire & probably have flipped the car had I tried. The semi didn't even notice anything happened & never stopped). But when I mentioned that the car had a new transmission, which would have to be reimbursed by the insurance company, I guess that tipped their calculations because the car was fixed.

I am 99.9% certain that hitting a deer would be end game for the car though. I think my insurance company wouldn't even bother sending an adjuster & would just mail me a check. That check would be for about $1200, which is not going to go far for a new car.

I've had deer leaping up in front of my fairly regularly for a few weeks now and they just stop there in the middle of the road and look at me like "What the hell is YOUR problem?" and wait while a couple more join them and just when I think it is safe to go again I notice another one off to the side - dithering, walking back & forth to the road line, side to side along it. I know if I start driving it'll leap right out in front of me but I can't just sit there forever while it makes up it's mind. The deer around here are totally unfazed by car horns so you can't startle them into moving.

A huge buck jumped out in front of me this morning. I'd just come around a bend & rise (lovely combo a quarter mile from my house) when suddenly out of the bushes came Super Deer leaping up into the air. I was seriously concerned he'd land hooves first on the hood he was so high in the air.  I screeched to a stop inches from him and he looked at me with that "what the hell?" look and leapt away.

He was so big and leapt so high I was looking for his mask and cape. Faster than a speeding Miata, able to leap SUVs in a single bound, it's Super Deer!


Jay said...

Those suckers can cause some damage!!


Aunt Becky said...

Yipes! Forgot that deer season is almost upon us!

Elizabeth said...

I feel your pain! Last June I hit a SMALL dear going 65 down a rural highway w/ my Toyota Highlander. Jumped out nowhere - apparently on a suicide mission. $8000 worth of damage later - inc blown radiator and battery. Thank God nobody was hurt. I really hate deer...

Jennifer said...

We live in a deer haven, too. Such a pain. Glad super deer managed to fly over you! LOL!

._. said...

hahah goodness. deer are crazy around here.. well everywhere, but really.. they freak me out on the roads LOL


Krystal Hartley said...

Hahaha! You're a great writer! I should do more of that!

So, I'm thinkin' long does it take evolution to kick in so that the deer are afraid of roads and cars?

Chels said...

Kwym! I live in a deer area too. Just saw 4 of them yesterday. Sometimes i can see them in the yard.

mrsbear said...

That's actually really scary. I'd be terrified. Around here we watch for ducks. I definitely don't want to nail one, but if I did accidentally at least I know it wouldn't be catastrophic.

Katherine said...

I had just saved up enough to buy myself a brand new car in high school, I was driving home from my Grandparents in south coastal Texas and three deer, two does and a baby ran out in front of me. In that split second I panicked, and not wanting to hit the baby, swerved to hit the larger deer. ALMOST totaling my new car. And never was able to make my parents understand why I swerved to hit the LARGEST of the three. I still feel guilty thinking I may have killed the mother.

Totally feel your pain - I DETEST deer season. Good luck this year!