I’ve been pretty lucky in my encounters with deer. I don’t hunt, so those encounters have not come in the woods, they’ve come on the road.
I’ve hit deer twice, been hit once, and almost got hit again last weekend. And through it all, neither the deer nor me or my vehicles have suffered much.
The first hit happened in 1992. We were living in McDonough at the time and Aladdin had just come out at the movie theatres around Thanksgiving, and was showing at the theatre in Conyers. We loaded our two kids into our car and went to the show. On the way back after the show, it was near dusk and I was starting down a hill on East Lake Road when this large deer suddenly bounded across the road in front of us. As I slammed on brakes, the deer hit on the left side, slid across the front of the hood and back down onto the road on the other side and kept going. I pulled over to check the damage, but other than finding scratches on the hood and a piece of deer fur stuck in the grill, we were unharmed.
The second time occurred a few years later on West Knight Road, where we lived in McDonough. I was headed to work one morning and another deer ran out in front of me. I hit the brakes and hit the deer.
This one was smaller than the first one, and it hit directly in the center of the front part of my car. The deer bounced off and was knocked off its feet, but it got back up and kept going. I had a nice dent in center of my hood and grill, but other than that was unharmed.
The third time happened when I was head to Macon from Jackson. I was in a pickup truck at the time and headed down Highway 23 when I saw a deer approaching from my left side. Doing what they always say to do, which is slow down, I did, and the deer slammed into the side of my truck bed. It bounced off, lay on the ground for a minute, then got up, shook its head, and wandered off. I checked my truck, but didn’t find a dent, so I was happy, other than realizing that if I hadn’t slowed down, the deer would have probably passed behind me.
As I said earlier, the last time was last weekend. I was headed home from Talladega to Thomaston on some back roads between Talladega and LaGrange. It was dark, woodsy, and I was on unfamiliar roads, so I was already taking my time. I knew there was a likelihood that I would see some deer, so my eyes were peeled ahead of me on the road and the sides of the road. Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, this big deer appeared to the left of me. It was bigger than my car and I saw mostly chest and neck. It looked like it was right up on me. Without thinking, I slammed on my brakes. But thankfully, the deer’s reactions were quicker than mine, and by the time I hit the brakes, it was already gone, passing behind me into the night.
I’m sure you’re all enjoying reading about my hits and near hits, and probably remembering a few of your own, but the point of this column is to remind you that this week, Nov. 2-9, is the prime week for deer to be out and about in Upson County. A team of UGA experts did a study based on past years and determined which week of the year was prime deer season in each county in Georgia, and this is our week.
So be on the lookout for deer this week. Tis the season for deer hits.
Larry Stanford may be reached at 706-647-5414 or on Twitter @LarryStanford7.