Thursday, January 05, 2012

Oh, Deer

Hello everyone.

Happy New Year and all that crap.  Let's hope all the self-professed "experts" are wrong and this isn't the last year for the human race.  I've still got a lot of stuff to do, and there are just some things I won't be able to get done by December 21st.  Like celebrate my 40th birthday.  Not that I'm looking forward to being 40, but I'd rather be 40 than dead.  I just hope that on my 40th birthday I don't find myself wandering what's left of a post-apocalyptic world, wearing a mailman uniform, and drinking my own pee like Kevin Costner.

Christmas was interesting.  A couple friends were in town, and they came over on Christmas Eve (which was also one of the friend's birthday).  My friend Brian was also here, and the two of us played music and drank way too much.  We had to convince Brian not to drive home, and he agreed to stay the night here as long as we took shots of whiskey with him.  I was already "speeching my slur" before we took the shots, but the added helping of Bushmills on top of a belly full of PBR meant I spent Christmas Day nursing the worst hangover I've had in probably a decade.  Good times.

In part because of the Christmas debacle, Cathy and I spent a quiet New Year's Eve by ourselves at home.  It was nice.

I've started a new blog devoted strictly to politics, the appropriately named Rob Talks Politics.  Check it out.  This means no more politics here on my personal site, although everything is political, so I'm sure some of my comments will have a political edge to them.  But the main theme here will be about stuff happening in my life.  And I plan to keep the obligatory Moment of Tucker.  Sound good?  Good.

Deer News:

Speaking of Tucker, the other day he and I took a walk around the property, and I noticed a fawn/young deer (its spots were gone, but it was small and its nose was still stubby) lying on its side, flopping around on the ground.  It was slowly dying.  Tucker also noticed it and wanted to go investigate, but fortunately he listened when I told him to stay.  The deer tried to get up once or twice but fell over, so I figured it had been hit by a car (the road wasn't too far away) and definitely had some broken bones.  It wasn't going to make it.

I wasn't sure what to do, so I called Cathy at her work, figuring she's got much more connections and experience with stuff like this than I do, since she grew up around here.  She asked around at work, and one of her coworkers called her husband, and the gist of the conversation was that it's illegal to shoot the deer, and I should call Fish and Game and report it.  So I did, and the woman I talked to said there's nothing they could do about it and that I just needed to let it be until it dies.  I told her I wasn't thrilled about the idea of letting a deer die slowly and painfully, and that I also wasn't thrilled about eventually having a dead deer rotting so close to the house.  She "helpfully" said I could always take it to the dump once it was dead.

The last thing I wanted to do was load a dead, decaying deer carcass into the back of the truck and then haul it to the dump.  Thanks for nothing, Idaho Fish and Game.

I relayed all this info to Cathy, but what to do with the dead deer took a back seat to finding out a way to put this poor, suffering deer out of its misery.  It was pretty brutal watching it flop around on the ground and struggle to stand up.  It's something I won't forget any time soon.  Cathy told me the coworker's husband was friends with a sheriff deputy who lived down the road, and the deputy agreed to stop by and shoot the deer.  I was relieved.

I shouldn't have to point out how ri-god-damned-diculous it is that it's illegal to shoot an injured deer to end its suffering, but that Fish and Game won't take care of it.  I get why it's illegal, because poachers could simply say the deer was already injured, and they were just putting it down.  And I'm sure the reason why Fish and Game didn't send anyone out is because they are chronically underfunded.  But still.

While waiting for the deputy, I mentioned on Facebook what was going on, and the overwhelming consensus from the many comments was, "Fuck the law.  Do what's right."  I agreed with the consensus, but there were a couple problems.  First, we inherited our gun collection from Cathy's father: a couple of .22 rifles and a 12 gauge shotgun, which weren't exactly ideal for this project (especially the shotgun) and probably haven't been fired in at least 10 years, maybe even 20 or more.  We also have a .357 handgun, which probably would be more suited to shooting the deer, but again, this hasn't been fired in a long time, and it looks like an antique.  It's a police service revolver that probably belonged to Cathy's grandfather, who was a cop on the mean streets of rural Massachusetts well before I was born.  Oh, and we also didn't have any ammo in the house.

Second, I don't know much about guns.  In fact, I've never fired a gun in my life, other than BB guns.  I doubt it would've been too difficult to figure it out, especially considering some of the people I've known who are into guns aren't exactly the second coming of Albert Einstein.  But I didn't really want to go experimenting with guns on the deer.  I could see the headline in the local newspaper: "Man Shoots Himself Trying to Poach Bambi."  There will definitely be a day or two of Cathy and I going out and doing some shooting and getting used to the guns in our near future, but that didn't help me at the time.

Third, and probably most importantly, even if I had shot it, there was a sheriff deputy on his way.  I didn't know what to expect from him, and I didn't want to find myself having to deal with the possibility, remote as it was, of having to pay a hefty fine for shooting the deer.  So I waited for the deputy to arrive and tried not to dwell on the twitching and flopping deer outside.

The deputy finally showed up a good three hours later, after it had gotten dark out.  I was irritated it took so long, but later I found out he wasn't showing up as part of his duties, but stopping by on his way home.  Apparently the sheriff's department has more important things to do than to shoot a dying deer, and this guy was just doing a favor for a friend.  Either way, I'm glad he stopped by.

The deputy seemed nice enough, but he still made me nervous, as all cops do, even when I have no reason to be nervous.  I guess they're trained to intimidate people and keep them nervous.  After he started talking to us, he relaxed, and so did I.

I showed him where the deer was.  It had moved a good 20-30 feet from where I'd first seen it because of all the flopping on the ground and failed attempts to stand up.  The deputy asked what I was going to do with the deer afterwards, and I told him I didn't have any plans.  A couple Facebook friends suggested I keep the meat, but I have no idea how to gut a deer.  Besides, it was a scrawny little fawn, so I don't know how much meat you could get from it.  Probably a lot if you know what you're doing, but I don't.

I told the deputy I was going to go stand over by the house while he shot the deer.  I hadn't thought about it up until that point, but I couldn't see any reason to stick around and watch him shoot it.  So I walked away and eventually heard the gunshot.  The shot didn't bother me at all.  In fact, I felt quite relieved once I heard it.  The cop took his time coming back to his car, which I thought was weird, but when he came back he told us dragged the carcass over by the road.  That was pretty cool of him.  He didn't need to do that.  He didn't even need to stop by.

I never did find the deer carcass later on, not that I went looking for it, but I can't help but wonder if someone stopped picked it up.  I hope so.  It's enough that Cathy buys bird seed to feed the smaller birds.  We don't need to be feeding the ravens as well.

Reading Materials

For political stories, see my political blog.  Otherwise, check these out:
In Closing

Here it is, your moment of Tucker (taken near Grandma's house):


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