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by Michael M. Dewitt, Jr. | Oct 14, 2020 | BIG GAME, HUNTING
Forget Gun Control, We Need Van Control

If you become bored with the sport of conventional deer hunting and are considering getting behind the wheel for a more mobile approach, here are a few points of etiquette to keep in mind.
Forget all that nonsense of climbing trees and chasing deer around with dogs. For sheer hair-raising, adrenaline-pumping excitement, nothing beats running that monster buck down the old-fashioned way – with a Ford.

Being a proud sportsman I hate to admit this, but as a wingshooter and angler I’ve killed more deer with trusty American-made steel than with the lead from my shotgun or rifle. In fact, I’ve totally abandoned conventional deer hunting. Why spend all that time out there freezing my camouflaged buns off when I can kill deer in the heated comfort of my car, and listen to my favorite satellite country radio station while I do it? Why spring for a costly license, expensive ammo, outrageous hunting club fees and all that tacky camo clothing, when I can bag a trophy just by driving to work? Killing deer with an automobile in the South is an easy and economical sport – provided you have good auto insurance, your deductible is paid up and you don’t mind driving around in a dented clunker until January.

I guess my love for vehicular deer slaughter comes honest. My mother is a devoted deer hunter. A seemingly innocent school teacher by day, the woman is a deadly deer slayer by night.

I knew even as a little boy that something just wasn’t quite right with Momma.

“Michael, there’s a deer! Hit ‘em!” she screamed to my Dad one Sunday morning on the way to church.

“Wanda, that deer will tear this van all to hell!” Dad didn’t mind cursing on the way to church, after church and sometimes during. He and Mom had three boys, and I was the best of the lot. Enough said.

“Well, can’t you just bump him a little bit?” Momma persisted. “Maybe just knock the wind out of him long enough for me to get him in the back of the van and field dress him?”

Sadly, Mom’s minivan has spelled doom for many a doe-eyed forest creature. Her number of deer-related crashes is so high as to rule out all possibility of coincidence in the eyes of the Lord, the South Carolina Highway Patrol and the friendly neighborhood Farm Bureau Insurance guy. The woman has killed so many deer that, in addition to a wrecker, the AAA service now dispatches a skinner, butcher and taxidermist every time she calls. She’s on a first-name basis – but not good speaking terms – with the local insurance adjuster, who is currently trying to figure out a way to make up his losses by selling life insurance policies to the local wildlife.

Strangely enough, however, these crashes only happen when the meat in the freezer starts getting low.

But who knows, deer hunting with an automobile may become the next big outdoor fad. I can just imagine two auto hunters down at the lodge talking about their latest kill.

“That’s a nice buck! Where’d you get him?” one hunter might inquire with obvious envy.

“Oh, right there at the intersection of U.S. 601 South and Highway 3,” the lucky sportsman would reply with beaming pride. “He was trying to hide in a thicket of political campaign signs, but I hit the high beams and flushed him right out into the open. It’s kind of hard to tell with the bumper stuck to his head, but it looks like he was an eight-pointer.”

“Yeah, well I missed a six-pointer last week with my little old Nissan,” the jealous hunter counters, “But next time I’ll bring out the big gun. That eight-cylinder Dodge will get him for sure.”

If you do become bored with the sport of conventional deer hunting and are considering getting behind the wheel for a more mobile approach, you have to at least make the “harvest” appear accidental, or you will be considered a poor sportsman – and perhaps a felon. Here are a few points of etiquette to keep in mind when cruising for deer:
  • It’s not sporting to veer over more than one lane of traffic to take out a deer, unless it’s a hefty trophy buck. Then you could always claim that you were so distracted by his huge rack that you had to text a friend his picture and rack measurements while driving, which inadvertently caused you to cross the yellow center line.
  • It’s never okay when your vehicle completely leaves the roadway to take out a deer, not for any reason. For starters, rights of ownership may become an issue if you peg a deer in someone’s yard. Secondly, the deer you hit in someone’s yard may actually be part of a Christmas display, or even worse, a decoy set up by the game warden to catch my Mom.
  • The Ten Minute Rule is the most important rule of vehicular deer hunting. Much like the Five Second Rule, which says that a dropped potato chip isn’t dirty if it has been on the floor less than five seconds, a run-down deer is only good if you pick him up within ten minutes. After ten minutes beside the road a downed deer is no longer a trophy – it’s road kill! And you have to actually hit the deer yourself, or at least witness the collision, before you can rightfully claim the meat. Picking up a deer someone hit last Tuesday, for instance, is not only unethical sportsmanship, it’s also disgusting.
Furthermore, you may actually need those ten minutes to collect your nerves. The first five minutes will do to ascertain whether the damage to your vehicle and your underwear is merely cosmetic or permanent. And the next five minutes should be used to determine if the deer is actually dead or merely stunned. You could call the County Coroner to pronounce it dead, but then he or she may want a share of the meat. But you have to do something to confirm the time of death, because the last thing you want is to have a “dead” deer miraculously come back to life in the back of a minivan and cause a second crash miles down the road. Then there would be the pesky trouble of having to explain to the insurance guy how that deer you hit caused two crashes and tore up the inside of your vehicle as well as the exterior.

There is everything you need to know to enjoy a safe and productive automotive deer hunting season. So, if you decide to take to the highways looking for sport – and to put meat in the freezer – drive carefully, watch out for Mom, and happy hunting.

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well, she was in North Dakota.....................
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