Statistically US drivers have a 1 in 116 chance of hitting a deer every year. That means that, roughly, each driver will likely hit 0.5 during their time behind the wheel. Now there are things that will throw that statistic off, which part of the country you are in, the amount of time you spend driving. In the end some people may hit no deer and others will hit several during their years behind the wheel. However, this week I got my quota, I hit 2, in 2 different places, within about 10 minutes of each other….
Here is my tale of woe (I am not proud of this, feel terrible for the poor animals involved and none of it was intended).
An Unfortunate Day for Two Deer and One Van
The First Offense
We had spent the day at a friends house working on bee frame hive for our swarm traps. While building the frames we discovered we needed a different bit for my router than we had on hand. So I got in the car and drove back into town to see if I could pick one up.
On my way back, just as I get out of town, I spot a group of deer running toward the road. I saw them well in advance, gauged their speed and slowed down to avoid a collision. As we approached each other some of the deer started slowing down. I pressed the brake a bit more to adjust. Well the deer kept slowing down and I was a little to slow compressing the brakes further. I collided with the last one. In an almost comic fashion it rebounded off my hood and into the ditch on the other side of the road.
I pulled over and inspected what I could. There was nothing I could do for the deer, I do not carry a gun in the car. There was no visible damage to the car and I was unharmed. So feeling terrible for what had just happened I carried on my way.
The Second Offense
Less than 10 minutes later I am driving down a back country road. There are fields on every side of me and a significant ditch on either side of the road. Still feeling a bad about the deer I had just hit I spot another group of deer probably 50 or so feet into an adjacent field. They are all running parallel to the road but with a fair bit of distance between me and them.
With the last collision fresh on my mind I take note of the deer. Knowing that deer will often change directions and run in front of a vehicle. I decide to keep a close eye on them until I have passed. However, the distance between me and them should give me plenty of time to react even if they did suddenly change their minds and run toward the road.
Just then, a deer pops out of the drainage ditch and runs across the road right in front of me. I literally had about a second between when I saw the deer and when the van hit it. Apparently it had also been running parallel to the road, just down in the ditch where it was difficult to see.
This time the impact was high not gentle. I was moving at 50 mph, and things did not got well for either party. The front right of the van impacted the back of the deer. It disappeared into the ditch again and I pulled over to check on things again.
Thankfully the van’s airbags did not go off and I was once again unharmed, if shaken. The area around the front right headlight of the van was absolutely wrecked. The headlight itself was basically floating in place. However, thankfully the damage appeared to be mostly body work and the van ran just fine. At that point I could not see the deer and did not go looking for her (again I had no means of putting her down even if I did find her).
Extremely humbled and somewhat abashed I drove the rest of the way back and told my tale. My friend and I got into his truck and drove back to where the second deer collision occurred. We found the poor doe without difficulty and put her down.
I am not proud of these events. Upon reflecting on them I am torn between sorrow for the loss of life and laughing at the sheer ridiculousness of the situation. I mean honestly, what are the odds. I am also grateful we were at least able to shorten the suffering of the second doe. On that note. Take what you will from this tale of warning and always remember to watch out for deer and drive safely.
Charlie Berens Gif.