If you drive in Northeast Pennsylvania sooner or later you will have a close encounter of the deer kind. Odds are it will be sooner. Body shops depend on this income stream. The damage inflicted on vehicles that have collisions with the critters can be devastating.
It doesn’t do too much for the deer either.
I have heard horrifying stories about the results of these accidental meetings between motor vehicles and Odocoileus virginianus (thanks Wikipedia) some of which worked out poorly for both parties. I have had one collision myself, documented in this space a while back. Without rehashing the gory details it involved the deer’s head and my windshield wipers among other things.
But my most recent near miss was unlike anything in my experience.
Early morning trips to the gym always seem to flush a few of the four footed guys and gals out of the woods to bound across my field of vision. Because the roads I drive surround the Huntsville reservoir I am sure they are heading to the deer equivalent of the corner bar to get a drink. I am ever vigilant for this.
An important fact. If you miss one deer leaping and being all Animal Planet crossing the road, look out. The rest of the family is not far behind.
But this incident took place in mid-morning. I had just turned out of my driveway, barely out of second gear. I glanced down at my gas gauge for just a second, looked up and there it was.
It really was like a magic trick. Like David Copperfield had said “Now I will make a full grown deer appear instantly in front of your car.”
I can only guess that for some reason it was key for this fleet of foot but brainless creature to barrel out of the woods at warp speed and get in front of me. Must have been deer happy hour at the reservoir.
I had no chance to do anything even approaching evasive maneuvers. Never touched the brakes or moved the steering wheel.
I heard a click. It could have been anything but I am sure it was a deer hoof hitting my bumper.
All I saw was a brown blur. It was as close a call as either of us, deer or me, will ever have and escape undamaged.
In the last week I have seen at least, and I have no need to exaggerate, 20 deer in various spots along my travels. Some of them mangled by the roadside.
I wonder if my near miss was among them, or if it is enjoying a refreshing drink today, chatting with his buddies about the time he cheated death.