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Preemptive Strike

September 2, 2012

It’s getting close to hunting season…and as always, Jim is getting excited. Maybe even a little giddy. My man positively lives to hunt. He’s not merely a fan, or even an avid hunter. Hunting big game is his passion. And that’s a good thing…most of the time.

Sometimes, he gets carried away with it, and has to reign himself in some, but then, who doesn’t allow themselves to get carried away by something they absolutely love? Sometimes, we don’t even know it’s happening…passion just sort of sweeps us up and carries us along until some well-meaning person, say a spouse, decides we’ve gone over the edge. That discussion usually isn’t pleasant. For either party.

With me, it’s art.. I love to paint. It’s how I relax, and when I can’t escape into a painting, I have to find another outlet, and that process isn‘t always pretty.

Same thing with Jim and his hunting. During the off-season, he reads hunting magazines, watches hunting shows on TV, usually on the hunting channel, and attends as many gun shows and deer classics as he can. He likes to keep himself in the know about the latest techniques and equipment on the market. That way, he knows how much money he has to save for that special gadget he’s got his eye on., or better yet, which hints to drop just before Christmas. Like a hunting magazine opened to a colorful ad for the item he wants, accidently left on the kitchen table or counter, somewhere I can’t miss. Sneaky bugger…it usually works, too.

He’s already endured one big disappointment this year…he didn’t get drawn for a bear permit, and since he has no out-of-state hunts planned for this fall, he’s limited to deer. On the upside, he’ll have time to bow hunt starting in September, and then transition to a rifle in November, and back to his bow if his license isn‘t filled by the end of gun season. Theoretically, he could hunt deer from September 15th through December 31st.

He’ll soon be out in the woods, checking for sign…rubs; which are marks left on trees from when the bucks rub the velvet from their antlers. The bigger the tree, the bigger the buck. And then, there are scrapes, which are on the ground…they’re marks of dominance where the bucks use their newly polished antlers to scrape away debris on top of the soil and then they urinate in the dirt. Again, the bigger the scrape, the bigger the buck. Apparently, in the Whitetail world, size does matter. Peeing in a scrape is supposed to attract ladies who are in the mood. Those with headaches are smart enough to pass ‘em by. The whole idea of being attracted to pee in the dirt is revolting! I like our dating game much better.

We, in the two-legged world, have evolved. Or at least we like to think so. We are higher on the food chain and our men show that off by wining and dining their women. And, occasionally, they bring out the big guns, flowers and chocolate, for good measure, or if they‘ve really screwed up and need to get back on our good sides.

So, Jim was driving home from the Renaissance Festival yesterday. He almost made it…only had about a mile to go, when he got hit by a deer. The beast just plowed right into the passenger side of the car.

Luckily, Jim’s had a fair amount of demo-derby experience, so his reaction time is pretty short. He couldn’t avoid the doe; but he was able to swerve enough so she didn’t T-bone him. It was more of a glancing blow into the front passenger door, followed by a bounce off the rear door. And off she ran into the woods, so maybe she survived to live another day. Like maybe until deer season.

As a result, we have dents in both doors. But, they aren’t big dents, and both doors open and shut just fine, so we probably won’t have it fixed. The car is eleven years old, and it doesn’t matter that much to us. We’d rather put the money into keeping it on the road. Toyota makes a really dependable car…the engine and drive train are still running well, but, like with people, the body develops a few issues with age.

Unfortunately, both the insurance company and the body shop said that there is damage to the ‘cage’ that protects the occupants of the car, so we have to have it repaired. If it wasn’t a safety issue, we’d forget about it. But knowing what we know, that’s not an option. So the ‘ol’ buggy goes back to the body shop in a couple of weeks for another visit.

Now, you might think it sounds odd, being hit by a deer. And you might even wonder what the chances of that happening are. Not as rare as you probably think…

I know for a fact that it’s not a once in a lifetime thing…because it’s happened to Jim twice. Within the last four years. He was driving home from his evening hunt, when BAM! A doe ran right into the front drivers’ side fender, full tilt. Then she proceeded to roll down the entire side of the vehicle. She didn’t survive, and it was touch and go for the car, but it pulled through, thanks to the good people at the body shop.

What we didn’t know was that that was just the beginning…Jim was still driving to work at 5:30 or 6 am, which we all know is the prime deer movement time. Over the next fifteen months, he hit four more deer, none of whom survived, and a few of the cars were dead on arrival at the body shop as well.

It got to the point that when we called the insurance company, we didn’t have to identify ourselves; they recognized our voices. Then they laughed and asked how many points the deer had this time.

As for me, when the phone rang at that ungodly hour of the morning, I just knew he’d hit another one. Once, I picked up and told him he must have the wrong number.  At least I didn’t tell him to call somebody who cared.

Now, I’m thinking, that since Jim has harvested so many deer in his lifetime, with DNR approved weapons, the deer, as a species, are catching on. They just may have decided to make a preemptive strike or two against him. Just to give him a taste of his own medicine.

The timing is right…just before opening day. And what do they have to lose? He’s going to shoot ‘em anyway.

  1. Diane Hyland permalink

    All far too familiar: the hunter, the deer hits, the hints. Well done!

  2. I wonder how many times the deer hits the vehicle instead of the other way around! My one and only, so far, deer hit was that way. It leapt from a rise above a ditch on Hwy 7 and right on to the hood of my car. Scared the living crap out of me and O. I screamed and slammed on the brakes (I don’t do well in car-related emergencies). I must have done some damage to the deer as there was a big dent in the front of the car and a crack in the windshield, but the deer was no where to be found. Now, this was many years ago, and eventho I have almost hit countless deer in the years since, I have been spared a direct hit. I wonder what the world record is for deer hits? Jimbo has got to be close!

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