It’s been just over a week since deer season ended here in the Southern Tier and I’m still bummed out. Archery season was good but I still like getting out and being able to spend all day in the woods with a rifle in my hands. My lunch menu for these all day hunts hasn’t changed in over 50 years, either. A turkey sandwich made from leftover Thanksgiving turkey, a thermos of hot chocolate and an apple. It’s just enough to keep me going and something to look forward to in midday when things are usually quiet. The only problem is, I didn’t go—not once. Don’t think I didn’t want to; I just couldn’t because a deer wouldn’t let me.
Last November, after carefully and slowly driving home from a hunting trip, I had a deer run from nowhere smack into the left front of my truck. That night I successfully avoided any deer encounters on the back roads of Tioga County only to have a buck come flying between two houses while I was driving through town.
Three-and-a-half thousand dollars later I planned to have the damage repaired. I was scheduled to go out of town on a business trip the first part of the last week of deer season and my plan was to leave the truck for the three days I would be gone. The repair guy told me it would take at least that long to undo the damage done by the eight-point that hit me and he assured me I would have my vehicle back by the time I got home. He lied.
It seems there were more broken parts than he originally thought and they had to be ordered. This, he told me, would delay my truck’s return by another day. I was annoyed but not distraught because I would still have Friday and Saturday to hunt and was satisfied with that opportunity. Thursday came and I was preparing my hunting clothes when the call came. “I have bad news,” the voice on the other end said. It was my truck repair guy. “We found the headlight bracket on the right side broken as well and we won’t be able to get a replacement light until Monday."
“But deer season ends Saturday and I need my truck,” I stammered.
“Yeah, too bad, but there’s nothing I can do until Monday,” he replied.
I placed the phone back in the cradle, went out to the garage, hung up my hunting jacket, put the box of cocoa back in the pantry and stared out the kitchen window. “What’s wrong?” my wife asked. “You look sick.” I said nothing because she wouldn’t understand my situation anyway. A season comes to an end because a deer got me. How ironic.