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Old December 26, 2002, 02:13 AM   #1
Navy joe
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Christmas Deer

Since growing up and getting respectable in the military hunting hasn't been something I've been able to do much. This year I made an effort to be different and went small game hunting and deer hunting on public land several times. These mainly turned into a good opportunity to take my guns for a walk as I was interested in rabbits only, squirrels too much damn trouble, or antlered deer only as per regs. No deer, no chance to hunt back home, really wondering why I bought a license. Then today the deer came to me.

Alas though, I could not take it home. It was more a little reminder that came to me today about hunting and animal compassion in general. I was back in the country in my growing up county and in transit from one set of relatives to another. Cruising down the road at a sedate 60 or so I came upon a deer grazing on the left side of the road at 40 or so yds out. I slowed a little but watching it, since deer around here are usually car tame and will stay in place. Not this one. At about 40 ft out she turned, I got the car slowed and hard right but we still had a collision at about 20 mph. I got the car turned around, drove back by and didn't see any blood marks in the road, so I looped the car again and went to walk up to the area.

Looking at the car I saw no damage except for a slobber mark below the left headlight in the plastic area of the bumper. Didn't mean much for the deer though. About 50 yds up on the right there was a field of dry grass and I saw the deer in there. She was up the bank from the road and on the far side of a two strand tension fence from me. She was a small one, young looking and probably a 80-100# field dressed class. I looked with my light and she was about 15 yds from me and standing okay it seemed. Then she walked through the fence and stopped 2 feet in front of me and just stood there. Now I've seen some weird stuff before but that took it. I knew she was dazed, but I proceeded to check her out. No legs were damaged which was good because I hadn't been able to feel if everything went under wheel. A small amount of blood was dripping from her nose and mouth but I carefully looked and didn't see any jaw misalignment or broken teeth, also breathing was very normal which seemed to indicate not much else broken. She basically seemed to have a bloody nose, busted lip and a good bell ringing.

For about 5 minutes I watched her, listened to her breathing, rate of breathing and such. I could her love about 70 yds distant giving a good snort, now at least I knew why she turned off of green grass. Nothing much seemed to disturb this little creature, I was constantly shining my Surefire light in her eyes, talking to her, patted her on the back a little bit. A pick-up went by, luckily I wasn't petting the deer at the time but there was a massive application of brakes when the driver saw a guy standing on the roadside right next to a deer. The truck passing didn't get an eye response. I snapped my fingers next to her ears, nothing. Another 5 minutes, another truck. She gave a small start at the headlights but stayed still. Another 30 seconds and she started at the sound of my voice, looked right at me, turned and was gone before the fence wire had a chance to get out of the way. (Didn't slow her down much).

A slight pause to look back and figure it all out and she was gone.

Now I hope to all it was obvious why I stopped. I was raised to make sure that if something like this happened you went back and tried to do the best you could for the animal. This could entail removing the body from the road, shooting the animal, taking it home to take care of it, or going to tell some kid you ran over their favorite puppy. A basic social responsibility long forgotten today when too many would call their insurance company on the cell phone and then 911 to do something about the animal. I've seen people insist that a deer go to a wildlife shelter when it was thrashing around in a ditch because it was missing its two back ankles from hitting a car bumper. People have no sense of suffering or kindness it seems.

My intentions were to assess the damage and if necessary shoot the deer at which point I would have taken it on to the next relative's house where it would have immediately been put to good use. Seeing as the gun du jour was a 1911 with +p Golden Sabres I figured I had enough gun, now just to find the deer.

As you can see I did, and it was soon apparent that we had all gotten lucky. Knowing how I would have agonized over not finding the animal I really feel that something higher walked the animal down to me, as if it knew I could be trusted. No instinct, not even in a dazed deer would say to do that. Clearly she could see, she picked her way through the fence and ice patches to me. I smelled of human food, dogs, cats, and guns. Why come closer? It was as if she wanted to be checked out, watched for a spell, then all the wildness returned like the flip of a switch.

About four hours later I passed back the same way heading home. I spotted the snorter and his lady love in the same field acting normal as could be. Apparently Romeo was a respectable 6 point of about 130-140 lbs. They both split when I opened the car door. Feeling well, I drove on. I can only think with pity about the poor fellow who slowed in the truck. Somewhere he is sitting alone. He has gotten up hours before light, froze for days on a tree stand, walked countless miles and here was this durn fool standing there next to a deer shining a flashlight on it! Again I am glad I wasn't petting the deer when he went by, he mighta had a heart attack right there.

I think about it and I hope for those that hunt with only bloodlust, hope they will understand their place and responsibility in the natural order. I worry more for thos that are even more removed and have never seen meat beyond the package. And I am very glad I did not have to kill that deer. An odd Christmas present, and all in all a very successful hunt.
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Old December 26, 2002, 09:53 AM   #2
Art Eatman
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, Art
You're from BATFE? Come right in! I use all your fine products!
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Old December 26, 2002, 01:29 PM   #3
Sylvilagus Aquaticus
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Thanks, Joe. Nice story and goes a long way to restore my faith in human decency. Glad you had the experience, and I for one am the richer for your sharing of it.

Best regards to you and your in the coming new year.

"Warning labels thwart the purpose of natural selection".
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Old December 26, 2002, 02:52 PM   #4
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The deer whisperer
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Old December 28, 2002, 10:01 AM   #5
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A great Christmas present from God to you, and to us in the telling.
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Old December 28, 2002, 02:34 PM   #6
Fred Hansen
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"This started out as a documentary on gun violence in America, but the largest mass murder in our history was just committed -- without the use of a single gun! Not a single bullet fired! No bomb was set off, no missile was fired, no weapon (i.e., a device that was solely and specifically manufactured to kill humans) was used. A boxcutter! -- I can't stop thinking about this. A thousand gun control laws would not have prevented this massacre. What am I doing?"

Michael Moore
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Old December 29, 2002, 12:04 PM   #7
4V50 Gary
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One day there'll be a movie in which this story will be a feature.
Vigilantibus et non dormientibus jura subveniunt. Molon Labe!
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Old December 29, 2002, 01:37 PM   #8
Al Thompson
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