...I hit a deer.
I was driving home with my daughter after some shopping last night and I took the back road rather than the highway. It's less busy and there are fewer stop signs and stop lights. It's not a totally rural route, we pass the university and there's a little strip mall, a golf course and a few homes scattered around. But it is on the cusp of some wooded areas.
I had just passed the university and just, just passed the little strip mall when I spotted two deer on the other side of the road. It was dark as it was about 9 o'clock. I saw them but it didn't quite register what I was seeing. I'd taken Tara to the orthodontist earlier in the day and I had been chatting with a woman about coyotes. There was a photo of a coyote in the paper a few days ago and my mom had told me my brother had spotted one near where he lives. The woman had been telling me how she sees coyotes quite often where she lives and how they needed a good fence to keep their dog safe.
Things happened so quickly. In a split second, I saw the deer...at first wondered if I was seeing coyotes...started to break...the deer darted out.
I couldn't stop in time. The first deer made it across but the second one didn't...at least not entirely. In slow motion in my mind, it seems to me like the second hesitated a bit just before it got to the other side of the road...or that he was blocked by the first deer in front of him. (or her?)
I didn't run over it. But my front passenger side and the deer's back end connected and there was a big thump. I pulled the car over. Another car slowed down but then kept going. I couldn't see anything in the field beside me but it was pretty dark.
I called Tim and asked him what I should do...call the Humance Society? He suggested calling the police. I just didn't want to leave the poor thing suffering if it had been badly hurt. I decided to back up my van and pulled into a position so my headlights were shining into the field. (As much as I could on the side of the road) I wanted to go out and see if I could see if the deer were actually in the field or not. Tara was adamant that I should not get out of the car...I think she thought I was going to approach the animal if I saw it, which of course I wasn't going to do. I was walking up and down the road a bit and couldn't see much of anything...but I'm pretty certain the deer were gone. They were rather large animals and if it had been hurt badly enough not to be able to walk, it wouldn't have gotten far enough to be out of sight. I think.
As I was walking back and forth, a car stopped. (Tara told me she locked our van when she saw it.) I approached the passenger side and an elderly man had rolled down the window. He asked if I needed help. I told him about the deer. Now I was starting to feel a little shaken about the whole thing. He told me that that had happened to him a few times as he lived in a country area. I told him I didn't want to leave the animal if it was suffering but I couldn't see it. He said that it was probably twenty miles away by now. I asked him if he thought I should just go. He said, "Yes. I think that's what you should do. You should go."
And I guess he was right. I couldn't go searching the fields in the dark and if the deer was seriously injured, it probably would have been within sight. I hope so anyway.
And as I was driving home, inbetween fretting about the deer...I was thinking how nice it was for that man to stop...by a van...in the dark...to see if someone needed help. I mean, who knows today? He was very calm and he made me feel a bit better. Not "better"...but you know how it helps to have someone to talk to when something of consequence happens?
At home, Tim and I checked the front of the van where I hit the deer. Nothing was dented or broken...and there was no blood. I know I didn't drive over the deer...so I'm hoping it just got bumped. I hope nothing got broken.