This is especially hard-felt in a county where there seem to be twice as many bears as there are people and bucks combined. Seriously, don't laugh, I feel like I just throttled the last of the Dodo birds. "Doom on you... Doom on you..." just keeps echoing through my head, and with hunting season looming I FEEL doomed... Ever since eating 'tag soup' last year I've been earnestly praying for God's blessing on this year's hunting expedition (don't judge me). So as I flung my seatbelt aside in disgust while fumbling my way out of the truck to inspect the damage, I couldn't help but wonder... had I just met my buck quota for the year?
The way the day began should have been a clue. I was rapidly becoming late for work. Two new road construction jobs forced 'traffic' to a standstill along scenic Hwy 299. 9:15 am and it was already ninety-four degrees in the mountains. My truck started to overheat so I shut everything off and opened the one window that worked... the passenger side window. Small droplets of sweat beaded at my hairline, gravity eventually breaking the surface tension that anchored them in place so that they rushed in great, concentrated waves down the ridge of my nose, finally cascading off into oblivion. It was then that I praised Jesus under my breath. Mainly because I didn't trust myself to say anything out loud. Finally, the green light, and I'm off -- and I'm making up time.
I came 'round the corner going about 60 mph. I'd say the buck came off the opposite bank doing about 20. He was running so low and fast he looked just like the sprinting greyhound pictured on the sides of the buses. I remember looking incredulously at him running straight at me, breaking madly while bracing for impact and shouting "You stupid buck! You dumb--" BAM!!
I'm surprised at how little the impact affected the forward motion of the truck. The stereo shut off, but other than that, I didn't feel much of anything. Glancing in my rearview mirror I was astonished to see -- absolutely nothing. No body on the road, no blood, nothing. When I finally did manage to get out of the truck I was also astonished to see that my '86 Lariat Ford F-150 had sustained only minor damage. Aside from a broken blinker and cracked housing, my 'man truck' actually looked okay. I've decided the truck looks mildly cocky with a broken light. 'You should see the other guy' it seems to be saying, the broken light winking at me like a well-earned black eye. I did see the other guy... and HE is not winking.
On a lighter note... when I called my wife to tell her about the incident she gasped into the phone. My 4 & 1/2 yr. old son, hearing mom gasp, comes running and shouting 'What's wrong mom, what's wrong?' 'Nothing,' she tells him, 'Daddy just hit a deer.' 'Oh no!' he wails-- 'was it a mommy deer? Did it see him coming? Did she have babies?' 'No, no' mom assures him quickly, 'it was a daddy deer-- it was a buck.' Immediately I hear his demeanor change-- 'A buck?' he says smartly-- 'Did it have big antlers?'
That's my boy.
'Oh God, thank you for my manly son. And please let me SHOOT a big buck this year. Amen.'