I set up for the next high speed turn, the rear mounted engine of my car roared as I downshifted to third gear and shot around the corner. The tires held firm as I drove my 1968 Volkswagen Squareback around the corner and into the next straight. I was driving home from work through the Piceance (pee-ance) Creek Basin in Colorado. One hundred yards ahead of me I saw something in the road. As I neared the object I could see it was a large buck Mule Deer with a huge rack of antlers. He was laying on his side looking up at me as I approached in my VW. It was apparent that a vehicle had hit the deer.
I happened to have my .22 rifle with me in the car from some jackrabbit hunting I had done that weekend and I decided that I should put the deer down. I stopped my car, got out, and decided to drag the big fellow off the road before getting my gun. I walked up to the deer and grabbed its trophy-sized antlers with the intention of dragging him off the road. Suddenly I found myself standing in the middle of a secluded highway with a full grown injured Mule Deer standing next up to me as I held it by it’s antlers.
A sudden rush of stories from Field and Stream magazine surged into my mind. Stories of hunters who had put their guns across the rack of a deer for a trophy photo only to have the deer get up and run away with the gun in it’s antlers. I pictured myself in the magazine after telling my story of trying to do the right thing and ending up slashed by hooves and gored by antlers. I just knew that this was going to end with some scars that I could show my grandchildren as I retold the story.
Fortunately the shot of adrenaline I got from all these negative thoughts allowed me to throw one hell of a steer wrestler move on the deer and I took it back down and got it to the side of the road. Sadly I think that standing was the last bit of energy the deer had in it. I put the deer down, which was illegal since it was not hunting season, but it ended his suffering.
I’m skilled with the mad moves on deer should I ever get attacked by one whilst running trails.
This incident happened circa 1979 when Michelle and I worked at an Oil Shale Project. We took a year off from college to earn some money. I was 22 years old. It’s a moment frozen in time for me.
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