Tuesday, November 16, 2004


I have been quoted a statistic that in the southern Wisconsin county in which I live, there are 75 deer per square mile. 75. I don't know what the people-per-square-mile tally is but it would shock me if it were in the double digits. This is a county where, I believe, the largest town is around 10,000 folks. Whew!

Given that, you would assume the deer have it all figured out, at least on the survival front. True, no wolves, but lots and lots of fat guys in orange with really big guns at the ready. Also, lots of other guys in camouflage and really big bows. Hunting bows, not the other sorts (although the frilly ones would be more amusing). Plus, cars have been around in our little corner of heaven for at least 80 years, right? Nothing new. And those cars pretty much follow the same beaten, paved and clearly marked path. No surprises. (Well, except for the slowly moving farm equipment and all those pickups pulled into the stubbly cornfields, used to transport said orange and mottled-olive attired heavily armed hunters.)

So what do those supposedly savvy deer do? Well, first they wait for long periods of time for a car to come along. A car that can be seen miles away. A car well lighted. Next, they leap, stroll or dash into the middle of the road and then, instead of exiting stage left, they turn and head down the middle of the road in front of the car, like a little old lady on a Sunday drive. Well, maybe a bit faster, say at a good bound and trot. Yes, they pull out in front of you. Without signaling. Now, let's go back 150 or so years, before the horseless carriage came to WI, and the wolves roamed. What does a predator do when confronted with a deer, rabbit, or stick that jumps into its path and then runs ahead in the direction the wolf was already going? Is it possible for the wolf to do anything but chase? Hell, wolf doesn't even have to wheel and change direction. Or think. Just ask our dog.

Turns out that the drivers of minivans also have that same instinct. Apologies to the 2 separate deer that found that out on the drive home last night along the County H. You were just asking for it, you know. And Charles DID slow down when his Super Ego managed to overcome the instinct of his Id. (Note to those with concerned hearts: No deer were hurt, scared, or even vaguely worried in the above incident.)

Stupid deer. Too dumb to die, I guess. At least they are pretty. Sorta like some people.



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