We just took our third deer this season but not exactly the way we had planned. My son Josh hit it with his new Ford F150 pickup truck. We were headed north after a snowstorm to hunt the last day of the 2019 Wisconsin deer season. It was about an hour before sunrise as we passed through a small northern Wisconsin hamlet when a big doe bolted from the driveway of the last house in the little village. She crossed the road safely when the two fawns following decided they could make it across safely too. Poor decision on their part… which brings me to Uncle Boone.
Boone was not my uncle but I wished he would have been. A height challenged, weight challenged, hair challenged, skinnier than a twig nice man who was married to a wonderful woman. Aunt Mary Jane was a great cook and not a twig. You would have thought that Boone would have been fat but it seemed that the more Boone ate the skinnier he got. Boone was as smart of a man without much of a formal education as anyone I’ve ever known. His knowledge was passed down from generations and learned on the road of hard knocks. Old Boone knew a little bit about everything.
Back then, about 20 years ago, Josh and I were headed up north to do some hunting. He was driving his classic, customized 1983 Ford F150 with twin sky roofs, special paint, big tires and loud mufflers. We didn’t expect that fawn to come charging out of the woods and try to cross in front of the truck. Poor decision on that fawns part. Josh never had time to react and all we heard was a loud thud. The deer was so small that all we found was a tuft of hair on the license plate.
Boone said, “Stuff like that happens when you travel roads in Wisconsin. Eventually you are going to hit a deer and you just have to accept that the odds will catch up to you.” What surprised me was his next remark. “You don’t want to swerve to try to miss the deer. You are much better off to just keep the vehicle going straight, hit the brakes and slow down to lessen the damage.”
I asked Boone why you shouldn’t swerve. Boone said, “There are way too many bad things that can go wrong if you try to swerve and miss the deer. There is a ditch and you never know what’s going to be in it. It’s much safer to stay on the road. Ditches have culverts, rocks, trees and more that can do a lot more damage than a deer. The car can roll over and you can be seriously hurt and your entire car wrecked.”
Josh knew that swerving was a bad option and hit his break but those two deer were too close and disappeared under the truck with a loud thud. One fawn ran away and the other one didn’t. That deer is being cut up. We process our own venison and it’s destined for the dinner table. The only thing we found on the truck was a tuft of hair on the license plate.
Jim Bennett is an outdoorsman who lives and worked in the St. Croix River Valley and can be reached at email@example.com