Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Deer Rump in Headlights

The view south from our driveway.
Last night, after watching "The Black Swan" at the movie theater and dinner and drinks downtown with friends, Rich & I were heading home. We're just over five miles from town and the road we take, Route 130, is the main highway south out of town. Once past town, the road winds past Lake Charleston, down and up a rather steep hill, and then gently curves southward. We frequently see the evidence of deer-car encounters along this stretch of highway. It's really the worst place to encounter a deer: there's quite a bit of traffic, generally going at least 55 mph, there are deep woods on either side of the road, or the Embarrass River or steep shoulders. We generally keep a close eye out for deer at night. Since I'm usually in the passenger seat, I always think it's my job to be deer lookout, mostly looking for eyes on the side of the road. So last night, we're cruising home. It's been a fantastic night out. As we near the bottom of the hill, with the entrance to Lake Charleston park on our left my brain realized what my eyes are seeing in the road: one deer just off the road to our right, and one very large doe right in our lane. I screamed, "oh God! Deer!" and Rich very calmly swerved the car to the left (into the oncoming lane) and around the deer. It was then that we saw several other deer on the left side of the road, just getting ready to cross it. We were going 54 mph, and luckily there was no ice on the road, no cars behind us and especially lucky that there were no cars in the oncoming lane of traffic. For the five minutes it took us to complete our trip home, I was pretty shaken. We've seen deer just off the road frequently, but that was the first time we saw them directly in the road. It was the eyes of the deer that had finished crossing the road that I saw first. I couldn't make out what was in the road, since our headlights were shining on the rump of the deer. Thank goodness Rich is such a calm and good driver. Rich said it may be inevitable that we hit a deer one day on one of those trips in or out of town. There is just too much traffic and too many deer in that little narrow stretch of road. Our friend, Sherry, saw a narrow miss one morning between a buck and an SUV on that same stretch. If we do hit a deer, all we can hope is that we don't get hurt. Of course, if we do hit a deer, and don't get hurt, I guess we'd have some venison for the taking...

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