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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Old, but good

 Which reminds me of the alcohol-fueled story of Dad and some neighboring farmers trying to catch a deer from a pickup.

I had this idea that I could  rope a deer, put it in a stall, feed it up on corn for a couple of weeks, then  kill it and eat it. The first step in this adventure was getting a deer. I  figured that, since they congregate at my cattle feeder and do not seem to have  much fear of me when we are there (a bold one will sometimes come right up and  sniff at the bags of feed while I am in the back of the truck not 4 feet away),  it should not be difficult to rope one, get up to it and toss a bag over its  head (to calm it down) then hog tie it and transport it  home.

I filled the cattle feeder  then hid down at the end with my rope. The cattle, having seen the roping thing  before, stayed well back. They were not having any of it. After about 20  minutes, my deer showed up-- 3 of them. I picked out a likely looking one,  stepped out from the end of the feeder, and threw my rope. The deer just stood  there and stared at me. I wrapped the rope around my waist and twisted the end  so I would have a good hold..

The  deer still just stood and stared at me, but you could tell it was mildly  concerned about the whole rope situation. I took a step towards it, it took a  step away. I put a little tension on the rope .., and then received an  education. The first thing that I learned is that, while a deer may just stand  there looking at you funny while you rope it, they are spurred to action when  you start pulling on that rope.

That  deer EXPLODED. The second thing I learned is that pound for pound, a deer is a  LOT stronger than a cow or a colt. A cow or a colt in that weight range I could  fight down with a rope and with some dignity. A deer-- no Chance. That thing ran  and bucked and twisted and pulled. There was no controlling it and certainly no  getting close to it. As it jerked me off my feet and started dragging me across  the ground, it occurred to me that having a deer on a rope was not nearly as  good an idea as I had originally imagined.. The only upside is that they do not  have as much stamina as many other  animals.

A brief 10 minutes later,  it was tired and not nearly as quick to jerk me off my feet and drag me when I  managed to get up. It took me a few minutes to realize this, since I was mostly  blinded by the blood flowing out of the big gash in my head. At that point, I  had lost my taste for corn-fed venison. I just wanted to get that devil creature  off the end of that rope.

I figured  if I just let it go with the rope hanging around its neck, it would likely die  slow and painfully somewhere. At the time, there was no love at all between me  and that deer. At that moment, I hated the thing, and  I would venture a  guess that the feeling was mutual. Despite the gash in my head and the several  large knots where I had cleverly arrested the deer's momentum by bracing my head  against various large rocks as it dragged me across the ground, I could still  think clearly enough to recognize that there was a small chance that I shared  some tiny amount of responsibility for the situation we were in. I didn't want  the deer to have to suffer a slow death, so I managed to get it lined back up in  between my truck and the feeder - a little trap I had set before hand...kind of  like a squeeze chute. I got it to back in there and I started moving up so I  could get my rope back.

Did you know  that deer bite?

They do! I never in  a million years would have thought that a deer would bite somebody, so I was  very surprised when ..... I reached up there to grab that rope and the deer  grabbed hold of my wrist. Now, when a deer bites you, it is not like being bit  by a horse where they just bite you and slide off to then let go. A deer bites  you and shakes its head--almost like a pit bull. They bite HARD and it  hurts.

The proper thing to do when a  deer bites you is probably to freeze and draw back slowly. I tried screaming and  shaking instead. My method was  ineffective.

It seems like the deer  was biting and shaking for several minutes, but it was likely only several  seconds. I, being smarter than a deer (though you may be questioning that claim  by now), tricked it. While I kept it busy tearing the tendons out of my right  arm, I reached up with my left hand and pulled that rope  loose.

That was when I got my final  lesson in deer behavior for the day.

Deer will strike at you with their front feet. They rear right up on their back  feet and strike right about head and shoulder level, and their hooves are  surprisingly sharp... I learned a long time ago that, when an animal -like a  horse --strikes at you with their hooves and you can't get away easily, the best  thing to do is try to make a loud noise and make an aggressive move towards the  animal. This will usually cause them to back down a bit so you can  escape.

This was not a horse. This  was a deer, so obviously, such trickery would not work. In the course of a  millisecond, I devised a different strategy. I screamed like a woman and tried  to turn and run. The reason I had always been told NOT to try to turn and run  from a horse that paws at you is that there is a good chance that it will hit  you in the back of the head. Deer may not be so different from horses after all,  besides being twice as strong and 3 times as evil, because the second I turned  to run, it hit me right in the back of the head and knocked me  down.

Now, when a deer paws at you  and knocks you down, it does not immediately leave. I suspect it does not  recognize that the danger has passed. What they do instead is paw your back and  jump up and down on you while you are laying there crying like a little girl and  covering your head.

I finally  managed to crawl under the truck and the deer went away. So now I know why when  people go deer hunting they bring a rifle with a sort of even the  odds!!

All these events are true so help me God... An Educated Farmer