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The deer know it's car season

October 07, 2003|by TIM ROWLAND

Editor's Note: Tim Rowland is on vacation this week. In his absence, The Morning Herald is publishing one of his previous columns. This column first appeared Nov. 27, 2000.

Welcome to the second week of Car Season.

Yes, I said Car Season.

Because it's come to my attention through my powers of deduction and infiltration of the Bambino cervine crime syndicate, that humans aren't the only ones who consciously bag game for sport.

I got suspicious several years ago when I noticed that, beginning in mid- to late November, the number of deer-car collisions escalates dramatically.

It was too much to be pure circumstance. Two people in our own newsroom have had run-ins with deer lately, and these events put the finishing touches on my thesis:


Yes, horrifying as it may seem, I believe that every fall, deer line up at their local sporting goods stores and buy licenses that allow them to bag one car a season.

Notably, Car Season begins a week or so before deer season. Is this a coincidence? Not hardly. See, the deer figure that if they are going to get plugged anyway, they might as well take out a $20,000 hunk of rolling metal along with them.

Sure explains a lot, doesn't it?

Because logically, there is absolutely no reason for a critter to abandon the safety of the woods and bound in front of a 3,000-pound missile traveling at 60 mph.

It would be even harder at night.

Listen, what deer in his right mind is going to think to himself, "Gee, there's an object about 12 times my size lit up like the sun and going really, really fast. Interesting. Think I'll go stand in front of it. See what happens."

No, the only way an animal with finely honed self-preservation instincts is going to do this is on purpose.

So they sit around in their tree stands over cups of cold coffee and telling each other lies about how they have taken out really big cars in the past and lived to tell about it.

They tell each other about the time they lassoed a Mustang, chased down an Impala, swatted a Jaguar, pulled down a Lynx, stepped on a Bug or broke a Bronco.

When the approaching vehicle is spotted, there is intense competition to see who will "get off the first shot," so to speak.

Notice that when deer jump out into the road there is seldom just one. Why? Because they are all racing to see which one can get to your car first.

Of course, when there is a slow deer at the head of the pack, this can lead to episodes of what social deer scientists classify as Herd Rage and things can get ugly, leading deer to utter swear-snorts and give each other the middle hoof.

Sportsmanship generally prevails, however, and when one of their brethren successfully hits the target, the rest will give each other celebratory head butts and sing annoying renditions of "Who Let the Deer Out" over super-amplified PA systems.

It's not a pretty sight. And nothing is more horrifying than to visit a deer lodge and see the grizzly collection of stuffed hubcaps mounted over the fireplace.

Obviously, action needs to be taken, and it starts at the grass-roots level. You can help by joining your local chapter of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Automobiles) and taking civil action by protesting in the woods, spraying deer with ink-filled squirt guns and throwing pies in the faces of deer ringleaders.

Yes, people may laugh at you at first and call you crazy, but over time you can help change the world and take back our highways from the disgusting and barbaric practice of car hunting.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist.

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