Country Living Series

Saturday, February 13, 2016

A big, fatal OOPS

This is our pasture fence.


It follows the dirt road leading to our house.


Originally this fence was just a triple strand of barbed wire, which (we learned) was pretty useless to keep cows in. Later we reinforced it with sticks, which helped a great deal; but still, calves could slip through. So later, after salvaging some field fence, we reinforced the fence line and made it cow-tight.


On Tuesday afternoon Don and I took Lydia for a walk down the dirt road, following the fence line. After we got home, I jumped into the shower. When I emerged fifteen minutes later, Don said, "We have a dead deer in the pasture."

What? But we just walked past the pasture. It was empty.

It seems a lot happened in the fifteen minutes it took me to wash my hair. A neighbor called in tears. She was driving down the road in broad daylight (average speed on our road is about 10 mph) when a deer in our pasture decided to bolt in front of her. (This is a common habit with deer. I have no idea why they do it.) But it never made it to the road. Apparently it didn't see the fence at all -- despite the sticks and T-posts -- and crashed full-speed into it, bounced off, and lay struggling on the ground with a broken neck.

When the neighbor called, Don grabbed a firearm, jumped in the car, and raced over to put the poor animal out of its misery. Before he got there, however, the deer expired. So he came home. All this happened while I was in the shower.

I saw the deer the next morning, lying there with a pitifully twisted neck. By this point no one was inclined to harvest it for meat; so later in the afternoon, while I was in the city doing errands, Don took the tractor, chained up the deer, transported it to a remote spot, and left it for scavengers. We didn't want to leave it in our pasture lest it attract predators.

By the time I got back from the city (fully intending to take pictures of the animal), the only thing left were some bloodstained tufts of fur.


(Maybe it was a good thing I didn't get pictures.)

The damage to the fence is grimly impressive. It's hard to see in this photo, but there's an enormous bulge.


Here Lydia's sniffing at the ground in front of the fence. You can see the bulge a little better, in front of her.


The impact snapped the sticks in multiple places.


Why deer bolt in front of vehicles is anyone's guess. I suppose it was concentrating on crossing the road and simply didn't see the fence in its way. At any rate, it was a big, fatal OOPS -- but at least it was a quick death.

Sad.

16 comments:

  1. It doesn't make sense, but Then I guess the Lord never made them to understand anything faster than a horse.

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  2. If prey animals were too smart the predators would go hungry.

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  3. I read the post to my hubbie and he wants to know what was following the deer? Maybe a predator was after it.

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    1. Nothing was chasing it. It happened in broad daylight, and a predator would have been easily visible. Apparently the deer was simply in the field until our neighbor drove by (and on our dirt road, people usually drive about 10 mph) when it bolted toward the fence.

      - Patrice

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  4. We have a big problem with deer darting into cars where I live and the explanation I've been given makes sense. Cars generally drive faster than anything in nature (except maybe for a cheetah, which North American deer aren't going to be familiar with anyway...) so that deer basically cannot comprehend how fast cars are going and think it's safe to leap out front.

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  5. All drivers need to learn to slow down - or even stop at times, around deer. Even if you do that you may not be safe.....they will run right into a vehicle! (We have been hit in the side twice! Drivers have to learn that - Daughter had to learn that. "I thought he'd stop!" was her comment after launching a nice 8 pt buck with my old Suburban (bigger than anything she ever got hunting). Every fall we have to go out and repair fences after hunting season before we let the horses out of the corrals/pastures by the house. We always have posts bent, wire stretched and twisted, and some down and broken after deer season. That said, the 8 pt buck died in July.... Natokadn

    Oh - ignore other drivers too. We were headed home one winter night after eating out. Same daughter was told to dive slow because there were deer. Pretty soon someone was riding her bumper making her nervous. Keep going slower and look for dear. We told her to ignore them - they would pass. They did - and got barely back into our lane when out of the ditch came a doe - Pow! She limped off and he still had a drive-able car, but a couple thousand in damage.

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    1. I slowed down and watched a buck and two does cross the east bound lanes of I-90 in Wyoming. I'm not sure why, but in the middle of the west bound lanes, they turned around and ran south, with the buck slamming into the rear of my truck. The rancher following me about a quarter mile back, said it didn't slow him down. It cost me a rear quarter panel.
      In August, the same thing happened to me in Missouri where the white tail deer are fed a steady diet of GMO corn and they are huge. I was in my dad's car and when the buck hit my left quarter panel the car died, leaving me stranded until a tow truck driver on his way home from Sunday services, whose only vehicle was his tow rig, pulled in behind me and knew immediately what happened. He reset the fuel shut-off and got me on my way back to my dad's. He was truly an angel sent to help me.
      The very impatient man who passed us, just over the bridge going south out of Coeur d'Alene at dusk found out why we were driving slowly when as he passed us the cow elk we had spotted on the side of the road decided to cross. My husband had all ready slammed on the brakes as he passed us, knowing he was going to have to swerve, which he did. Cars were coming north and we were going south and he nearly managed to tag all of us. The cow elk got up and ran away as he pulled off to inspect his truck, hopefully wiser (but he should have known better, his plates indicated he was local).
      sidetracksusie

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  6. Beautiful creatures... Death is always sad. By the way, Patrice, I just had to mention that I love the new Rooster photo! Good looking young man! 8-)

    God Bless,
    Janet in MA

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  7. The deerw actions make about as much sense as not harvesting its meat. Now, the deers entire existence is empty and worthless. Sentimentality will ensure starvation.

    Yes, this is very harsh, and im wincing to not apologize. Ive deleted this post three times already before submitting it. And im reminded that its harsh only because meat still grows at the supermarket. Perhaps, if we're all very fortunate and blessed, this comment will never shift into the realm of common sense.

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  8. Deer are quite adept at sliding through multi wire stock fence. When this one tried it on the mesh fence it died. Usually they live to learn--not this time. I have seen this several times on my farm where they slide right through my stock fences and crash on my garden fence.--ken

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  9. I wish I lived close enough to harvest that, because it was a bad year hunting for me. We're going to run out of meat well before bow season this year. And we'll be heartily sick of chicken and duck before then. Oh well. At least I have fresh tuna from the hubby's fishing vacation last week...

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  10. I must agree with Janet in Ma. He is a fine looking specimen with I assume a fine array of cock-a-doodle-doos.

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  11. Off topic. And I hope this is ok. But is there anyone else out there having trouble connecting to survivalblog.com? I have been shut out for two days straight and was wondering.
    Patrice - love this blog- it is a daily visit- so thank you and God Bless from Oregon.

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    1. We can't speak for anyone else, but we haven't had any trouble getting on SurvivalBlog lately.

      - Patrice

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    2. Husband was trying to look up an article on charging batteries and my brother informed him Survival Blog had just printed one. He could not get on until the 15th. He kept getting a message that indicated a problem with Survival Blog's server.

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  12. Having grown up on a farm any time you are putting up fence for cattle it should be a four or five strand fence and tightened as much as it will allow with a fence puller.

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