Deer Hunter – 65 Ford Fairlaine

I had taken a job in another town working second shift. I was coming home after a long day at work, just blasting down the dark highway.

Suddenly a buck jumped into my headlights from the left, bounding across the highway. By the time I had hit the brakes he was gone already. But the three does behind him were sharing my headlights now. The last one ALMOST makes it.

BAM! The car is instantly out of control! For some reason I can’t see anything in front of me as I stand on the brakes trying to get stopped. As soon as the car comes to a stop I am out the door. Steam is already engulfing my car. Only one headlight is still burning and it is pointing at the stars. The hood is bent almost in half, and the front of my car is caved in all the way back to the engine block

I turned to the darkness in the general direction of the deer and screamed at the top of my lungs, “You better be DEAD you ” It was. She was. They were. It was a pregnant doe carrying near full term twins. My second, third, and fourth deer kills, and it still didn’t feel good.

But THIS story doesn’t end here. My father-in-law had to come pick me up, at yet another wrecked car, and he brought the pickup. In Michigan you are entitled to keep the road kill deer, but this was a little different. This was a pregnant doe. The government was doing testing on the distribution of PCBs in Michigan wildlife, and required that we KEEP the doe for recovery.

Turns out, all we HAD to keep was the head. So I was introduced to another farm ritual, skinning and cleaning fresh kill. We needed an extra hand so I ran down to my house and got my little brother to help. Who wouldn’t want to be awakened from a dead sleep at 4 in the morning to go dress out a deer carcass?

The deer was hoisted up using the front-end loader and we worked in the light of the truck headlights. It was quite the eye opening experience.

We wrapped the deer head in a couple thicknesses of garbage bags and put it in the chest freezer. Right next to the frozen peas, by the ice cream. It was nearly two weeks before the government man came for the deer head. Good thing we froze it.

Of course, my wife was all for totally emptying the freezer after the deer head left. The venison we got from the deer wasn’t all that welcome in there either. Never really acquired a taste for venison.

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