Why deer make terrible hitchhikers, or, duct tape can fix almost anything

17 Jun

This is how we party when we’re on vacation in Iowa. Saturday night we went to a wedding reception in Ames. We left the wedding early, hoping to back get to Ian’s grandparents’ house where we were staying before it got too late.

About halfway there I saw a deer poke her head up out of the center ditch and hop onto the highway just ahead of us. (I knew she was a girl because she had really long eyelashes, a pink bow on her head, and red lipstick.)

Anyway, I barely had a second to react before she crashed into us. It was like a firecracker went off beside me; a loud crackling explosion and what felt like sparks on my arm and the left side of my face. Everything happened so fast, no one else in the car even saw the deer.

I immediately pulled over to make sure everyone was ok and check the van for any major damage. She had taken out my driver’s-side window and side-view mirror when she hit the van, then bounced off and hit the back window on the driver’s side. There was glass everywhere, including in my hair, down my shirt, and in my shoes. Luckily the kids were sitting in the middle seat, NOT in the back seat where the deer had hit us the second time, so they were unharmed (though obviously confused and a bit shaken.)

After I had explained to everyone what happened, my daughter’s first response was (predictably) “I hope the deer’s okay!” She’s definitely my daughter; I was thinking the same thing. Ian was looking back to make sure the deer wasn’t in the middle of the road, and saw her get up and run off the road into a nearby field. I doubt she survived that unharmed but she didn’t die where we could see her so I’m just going to go ahead and count that as a no-kill. However, on reflection I think if a deer ever commits suicide using my car in the future, I will take her home. Seems a shame to waste all that venison don’t you think? And I’d never have to buy another dog bone again.

Honestly if she needed a lift, she could have just asked. I guess it’s not that easy to hitchhike when you don’t have thumbs. Anyway, Ian called 911 to report it and talked to our insurance company while we waited for the highway patrol. The officer arrived before he was even off the phone.

Officer: Were you driving the vehicle Ma’am?
Me: Yes I was.
Officer: I see you’re bleeding. Do you need me to call an ambulance or escort you to a hospital?
Me: No thank you, I’m alright. I just got hit with some broken glass because my arm was in the way. This blood is actually dry already.
Officer: Let me guess – did you have your arm resting on the window ledge? *chuckle*
Me: As a matter of fact, no. Although, don’t tell me driver’s ed instructor but… *conspiratorial whisper* I didn’t have my hands at 10 and 2. Actually it was more like 11 and 5.
Officer: Yeah I don’t know why they teach that; no one ever holds the steering wheel that way.

Obviously I liked him immediately. He wrote up a quick report and sent us on our way, suggesting we stay on the highway because we would probably encounter more deer on the side roads, and we didn’t have that many windows left to break. The last thing we need after that experience is to end up with a deer halfway through the window because it tried to break the window and then learned there wasn’t one there anymore.

Ian’s grandparents had already gone to sleep by the time we got back to the farm so we just brought our stuff inside. The next morning, Ian and Grandpa went out and MacGuyvered a window replacement out of a TV box, a strip of plexiglass, a handheld mirror and of course, duct tape. Lots of duct tape. The man’s a bloody genius. For your viewing pleasure:




So if you saw this vehicle driving down the road and were like “what the H?”, now you know.


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10 responses to “Why deer make terrible hitchhikers, or, duct tape can fix almost anything

  1. fargojones

    June 18, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    Glad everyone is OK. I’ve thankfully never had the pleasure. Wife did once, and had the airbags, emergency room and everything.

    • karifur

      June 18, 2012 at 9:33 pm

      I made it to 36 without hitting one head-on, though I did come extremely close on one occasion. I would have almost preferred it to be totalled so we could get a different vehicle :p

  2. Jennifer Worrell

    June 20, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    I hit one so big one night, I thought I’d hit a cow. Glad you’re okay. Scary situation, hilarious post!!

    • karifur

      June 20, 2012 at 8:27 pm

      We were remarkably lucky. One second earlier, we would have run her down & probably would have rolled into the ditch. A second or two later, she would have hit the window right next to my son’s face.

      • Jennifer Worrell

        June 21, 2012 at 4:57 am

        NOT cool…

  3. Rachel

    June 21, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    They are so cute but so terrifying to come across like this (FYI, totally found you on theBloggess and super glad!) Living in suburbia, deer walk through my garden all the time and eat my tomatoes, but luckily have not jumped out at me while driving. My mom drives to work in the predawn/dawn time and she’s had some nasty collisions with them. Dang crepuscular creatures!

    • karifur

      June 21, 2012 at 1:57 pm

      +10 for correctly using the word crepuscular in a sentence. I’m glad you came here – it’s always nice to meet fellow Lawsbians 🙂

  4. logyexpress

    June 26, 2012 at 8:46 am

    I’m glad you were able to keep your cool and your sense of humor about this. I love the “my arm was in the way line” and your banter with the police officer. I’m not such a quick thinker. The one time I was in an accident that broke my windshield into 8 million shards of glass, I screamed my fool head off. Which meant my mouth was open. Which meant I was rinsing glass out of my mouth for hours. I also found glass in my belly button later.

    • karifur

      June 26, 2012 at 11:57 am

      Yes, I did open my mouth for a moment out of surprise so I did end up with a small amount of glass in my mouth as well, but nothing major. I did get some glass in my ear also. And, surprisingly, a little in my opposite ear as well; don’t ask me how that happened.

  5. skullwoman

    November 20, 2017 at 8:34 pm

    I grew up in suburban NJ right outside of NYC, so seeing deer was a novel event. First time driving to a friends wedding at night in very rural PA, my roommate goes “If its two bright green flashes running across the road its a deer, if its two slower reddish looking eyes, its a bear, and its best to just do a U-turn. Needless to say I pulled over at the next available turnout and handed her the keys to the car.

    Glad you and the family are safe. 🙂


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