Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Oh deer...

As a disclaimer to my readers, I have recently learned something that may challenge the most fundamental of your beliefs. Read on at your own caution.

You couldn’t stop could you? You had to keep reading to see what exactly it was going to be. I would do the same thing.

It all started out very ordinary; I was taking some garbage out to the garbage can in my driveway when I saw it. A deer was standing in my side yard munching on what little grass we have growing. I stopped dead in my tracks and stared it at with its satellite-like ears perked all the way up. I knew almost instantly that I was looking at a baby deer, but couldn’t locate the mother deer. This was concerning to me, so I backed away slowly and retreated to my house. I grabbed my camera and ran to my upstairs porch, hoping to get a better look at the deer from a position of safety.

I found the mother deer grazing a few feet away from the baby. I decided to take some pictures of what I saw, but they didn’t turn out very well, mostly just their eyes show up. My cousin and sister joined me on the porch with a flashlight. We tried to move our outdoor lights to shine directly on them, but were hindered by their lack of mobility.

So, with my cousin and sister armed with a flashlight and me armed with a camera, I set out to stalk my prey like a tiger. I crashed through the front deer and cautiously approached the deer. They probably had an ESP-like sense that told them I was coming and they started to back away towards the hill. I snuck up as quietly as possible to try and get a picture. It was about this time that a viral video I viewed (nice alliteration) that showed a man getting absolutely pummeled by a deer ran through my mind. If I recall correctly, and I think I do, that man had doused himself in deer urine in an attempt to attract deer to him. I tried to remember if I had doused myself or had any other contact with deer urine. I couldn’t remember any, so with that knowledge and the confidence that accompanied it, I proceeded towards the deer.

Here’s when I learned what has forever shaken my previous beliefs. A bright flashlight shone directly in the eyes of a deer does NOT freeze that deer in place. So much for the “deer in the headlights” myth. We had that light trained spot on the eyes and it’s not a dim flashlight. This is an LED Mag light with 3 D-cell batteries. Yeah, it’s bright. The deer looked at the light for a few seconds, probably wondering what the heck we were doing shining a light in its eyes then sauntered off down the hill.

I approached the crest of the hill without much trepidation and watched as mama and baby headed down the hill towards our stream. The baby deer started jump running. That’s what I call it when they run and jump at the same time. The mama deer just stood behind a bush and waited for me to follow it down the hill. Feeling included in my new deer family, I carefully tumbled down the hill. I think my clumsiness may have been a source of concern on the deer’s part of my ability to keep up with the family and they proceeded to leave me high and dry at the bottom of the hill. I listened as they crossed the stream and disappeared from view.

It was at approximately this time that I remembered something else I had seen while on the porch. I had seen another set of eyes reflect in the darkness. This other set did not belong to either deer. At the bottom of the hill and at the mercy of whatever predator was lurking in the shadows, I cautiously looked around. I could not see any other eyes looking at me. I decided this was as good a time as any to head back to my house. I did not want to go hunting through the brush for an unknown (and probably carnivorous) animal. We have had a porcupine lurking around in our yards recently and I did not think highly of a chance encounter with this creature.

Fortunately, I made it back inside safely. However, my belief of a deer frozen in headlights has been destroyed forever.

Growing up hurts sometimes.

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