One less deer in Saskatchewan last night

After the extravaganza of opening presents chez Pipers on Christmas morning, we hit the road in the afternoon to go to my sister-in-law’s place, a few hours away, where family was getting together.

It was dusk. Mrs P was driving, I was dozing in the passenger seat, the Cub was watching a video in his car seat, when suddenly a blurry view of something right in front of the car, followed by BLAM!

Mrs P and I both grew up in rural Saskatchewan. “Deer?” I said. “Deer,” she replied.

Mrs P pulled over at the next turn-off and we went out to inspect the front. Bumper was smashed to bits; grille was gone, and there was a deer-shaped imprint on the caved-in radiator. Looking back to where the collision occurred I could see that from what was left, it was definitely a dead deer. It had joined the Choir Eternal.

We drove slowly to town. We were just 30 km from SIL’s place and it was 27 below. Tire pressure warning light came on part-way there, and the temperature gauge was climbing; not surprising, given the state of the radiator. Thought it was touch-and go whether we would make it before the car gave out, but we did, safe if not sound.

Some soothing needed en route for the Cub. He asked if it had been a parent deer or a baby deer. We said we thought it was an adult deer, then asked him why he wanted to know. “Well,” he said, “if it’s a baby deer, his parents are going to be really mad at Mom and they’re going to come hunting for her”. I must say, he did conjure up a disturbing image of vigilante deer, probably wearing hunting caps and carrying rifles, with a “Wanted” poster, asking people if they’d seen this woman.

At one point the Cub suddenly realised the windshield had spatters on it. “What’s that on the window, Dad?” he asked. I went through that little parental decision loop in my head: “Shield him a bit or introduce him to the realities of the harsh world? Heck, we just hit a deer. Harsh realities it is.”

“Blood,” I said.

“What? BLOOD? You mean the deer’s on top of the car and his blood’s running down the window?!?”

Did my best to explain that the deer was back on the road and the blood was from the accident.

We’ll pass over the discussion whether Mom was a murderer.

Mrs P was a bit shaken up, of course. When we’d finished our brief inspection of the car I asked her if she wanted me to drive the rest of the way. “No”, she said. “I have to do it right now.” Sensible statement, just like falling off a horse : get back on right away. So she drove us in.

As she drove we talked about how quickly it had happened. Deer run across the road, in our area especially at dusk. She said she just had a glimpse of it, had a split-second to consider whether to try to swerve or go straight and hit it. She remembered that her dad, a farmer and countryman all his life, always said: “Just drive straight and hit the deer. If you try to swerve at highway speed, good chance you’ll have a roll-over, especially in winter.” So that’s what she did - drove straight, knowing there would be a god-awful smash but it was the safest thing to do.

Nerves of steel, Mrs Piper has!

Glad you’re all safe, and that it wasn’t a moose.

Thanks! Moose are bad!

Now trying to deal with SGI and CAA on Boxing Day. Long queues on the call lines.

Oh, dear!

Well, you are in rare form. That was just laying there after the collision wasn’t it. :wink:

It was - here, and there, and over there …

If it is a moose, is it better to swerve or go straight?

Wouldn’t we expect Darwin to teach the species that roads and especially cars are bad?

If it is a moose, you’re pretty much hosed.

Because they’re so much taller than a deer, if you hit them, the body hits the windshield, not the grille. And because of their weight, they go right through the windshield and hit the passengers, right about shoulder or head level, which can easily kill or incapacitate you.

Remember that there was a quadriplegic MP in the Tory caucus before the last election? He hit a moose and broke his neck.

Swerving? Hmm. They’re so big you might not be able to serve around, plus the above-mentioned risk that a sudden sharp swerve at highway speeds risks a roll-over.

Just glad it wasn’t a moose. Feel sorry for Bambi, of course, but it was quick…

Hit a deer on Christmas, eh?

Upon inspecting the damage did you find a nice bright red light hood ornament? :eek:

I came upon a midnight deer, a sorry sight to behold…
–Bob Rivers

Great, if somewhat tragic, recounting of the accident. But I’m glad to hear that the family Piper is safe.

You may not want to let him know about this:

D’oh! A deer!

Glad you’re OK. They’re ubiquitous here. It’s just a matter of time…

No, but the Cub was convinced he had found the deer tail dangling under the car.

I explained that was the plug for the block heater.

“But why is it so furry, Daddy?”

Thought about trying to explain blood clots, gluing effect thereof, physics of high speed impacts, fragility of deer skin, and said “Not sure, Cub.”


I was thinking something a bit more Gary Larsen-esque, but yes, that’s the image. I won’t show it to him. :slight_smile:

Well at least your young son doesn’t fear and hate your wife.
A few years ago, Trixie the neighbourhood deer, mother of the herd that lived on our land, who ate out of my neighbours’ children’s (ages 6 and 4) hands, ran into the side of my vehicle and then off into the bush, never to be seen again, other than one haunch dragged back by my neighbours’ dog.

The young children were inconsolable. Their father, trying to make a useful lesson about the danger of playing in traffic (several cars go down our street most days), told the tots that they must be very careful to watch out for cars. One of the children understood, and only despised me. The other child did not understand, and thought that his father meant that I would deliberately run him down and kill him if given the opportunity, so for a couple of months the child not only despised me, but also was very scared of me and ran away each time he saw me.

Had a very close encounter myself a couple of Thanksgivings-ago on the Trans Canada en route to Regina - deer made the very foolish decision to run out almost perfectly timed to get clipped, although I did happen to spot it in time and braked (but didn’t swerve) and came to a complete stop with the deer in swatting distance. Our car is not a large one, so it don’t like to think about the damage that could have been done had I not noticed him until half a second later.

They are scary when they pop up on the highway like that.

I just don’t get why deer do it, and always in the dusk/early evening. You’d think that the noise and headlights would scare them away.

I’ve always thought cows are dumb, but at least they’re pretty slow-moving

Deer just dart out and you never know which way they’re going to go.

And you’re just as likely to swerve into the deer that is following the one you’re avoiding.

I’m glad you’re all well.

Who is in charge of picking up the carcass? Do you have to report it to them, or do they just drive around and deal with what they find?

You want dumb, try coming over a blind hill on a dirt road in Colorado only to find a flock of sheep wandering along. They just stand there and look at you. “What?” they say.

They will get out of the way if you press through at 2 or 3 miles an hour. And every single one of them will look at you as you pass, smearing sheep drool on the windows, saying, “What?”