An up close en­counter with a deer

The Amherst News - - OPINION - Shirley Hallee Shirley Hallee’s col­umn ap­pears bi-weekly in the Amherst News.

It was Sun­day, Oct. 29, and I had just nished do­ing the rst part of clos­ing up the cot­tage. e fridge had been emp­tied, cup­boards cleared. e items that I gured I would be us­ing dur­ing the o -sea­son had been packed up. My car was loaded and I was head­ing back to town. e day was beau­ti­ful. Lin­ger­ing on the deck would have been wel­comed but I wanted to leave well be­fore dusk... know­ing that deer tend to move around about that time.

My two small pups had set­tled down on the seat be­side me and were look­ing out the win­dow at the car in front of us. I noted that the ve­hi­cle was a Honda SUV. I was also driv­ing a Honda but mine was an older Civic – top of the line when I bought it. I named him An­toine and my GPS was named An­toinette. She served as the des­ig­nated back seat driver when needed.

e car in front was mov­ing at a pace a bit un­der the limit. We had en­tered a sec­tion where the speed limit is 90 and since the pups were en­joy­ing the ride and I was in no hurry, I was con­tent with go­ing 80 to 85. Sud­denly An­toine was jolted... big time... and I saw the brown­ish neck of a deer slide past the wind­shield on the pas­sen­ger side. is was fol­lowed by bits of my right head­light shoot­ing over the top of my car. Un­for­tu­nately, I wasn’t aware that hunt­ing sea­son had be­gun just two days ear­lier.

I al­ways keep both hands on the wheel so I stayed in my lane. e pups had bounced a bit but quickly were back in their seat. I slowed way down as it dawned on me what had hap­pened. I thought about turn­ing around to check on the deer... then de­cided against it.

First, I re­al­ized there would be noth­ing I could do if the deer was in­jured, and I cer­tainly did not want to see an an­i­mal in that state. I also re­mem­bered I had tucked my dogs leashes into the trunk and was con­cerned that they might be ex­cited enough to jump out of the car and run loose. An­other fac­tor was An­toine. I knew he had been dam­aged and I wasn’t sure that all uids were go­ing to stay in place. I de­cided to keep go­ing, al­beit quite slow.

We made it home. I got out and looked at the front end and thought, “is isn’t good.” Even though the air bags had not gone o and the wind­shield was still whole, the hood was crum­bled, the bumper bro­ken, the side fender pushed out of place, and the head­light to­tally smashed. I made my way into the house and rst called the po­lice to re­port my sit­u­a­tion and then asked who could check on the deer... and put it out of its mis­ery if in­jured. I called the RCMP who then put me in touch with the DNR. I was a bit up­set to hear that they would only send some­one out to that area if they got a call from an­other mo­torist about an in­jured deer. I guess they gured the deer was dead.

I called my in­sur­ance com­pany – and was very happy to be as­sured that I would not be con­sid­ered at fault. I was told that a rental would be pro­vided for me by the next morn­ing. Even be­fore the ap­praiser came out to look at An­toine I was in­formed my ve­hi­cle would likely be a write-off and I should start look­ing for a re­place­ment. I gured that would be the case. An­toine was an old boy, and even though he re­ceived ten­der lov­ing care his mon­e­tary value likely would not match the cost of re­pairs.

Af­ter a bit of run­ning back and forth I nar­rowed my op­tions down to two ve­hi­cles, and made my nal choice in time for the go-ahead from the in­sur­ance com­pany. My new - to me - but gen­tly used ve­hi­cle is a she. As soon as I saw her a name came to me. She is in very good shape and quite beau­ti­ful.

I still feel re­ally sad about the deer, and more than a lit­tle mi ed at the hunter(s) that likely chased it into my car. I will miss An­toine. He served me well for many years, and in the end his sturdy frame pro­tected me and the pups. As for giv­ing my ve­hi­cles a name... doesn’t ev­ery­body?

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