Last night was not one of my best nights. Mainly it was compounded by one very sad annoying fact. A woman who loved animals wouldn’t just take the hint to drive on and leave. It would have eased and prevented an extra 40 minutes of suffering.
Let me start at the beginning, on my way home I rounded a bend on the highway and at the top of a hill there was a car on the side of the road with it’s 4 ways on. At the last minute I saw the yearling lying in the middle of the road and swerved to avoid it. I immediately pulled in in front of the car, grabbed flares out of the tool box lighting them up. Some how in the process I burnt a shirt lighting them.
While laying out flares for the deer it became quite clear to me how the night was going to end. Broken spine, blood dripping from it’s snout and mouth. The deer was trying to stand up but it’s rear legs wouldn’t move. It was a bad situation for the deer.
I told the woman driver to go ahead and go home and I’ll take care of calling it in and reporting it. She insisted on sticking around. So the option of just dispatching the deer and moving it off the road is now out since I’ve got a witness who won’t be supportive. I call Whitcom, inform them of the location and what’s happened, they attempt to connect me with WSP. Every time they transfer the call, the call was lost. I call Whitcom back, inform them the call was lost, and ask for the number for the WSP office handling the incident. They tell me not to worry about it and just stay away from the deer. I tell them again the deer is in the highway, alive, attempting to move, and needs to be dispatched. He tells me to just wait for the officer.
I now begin the wait in the cold, the deer is obviously in a lot of pain and attempting to pull itself off the road whenever a semi rolls by. It eventually pulls itself off the road and rolls down the embankment. Wailing as it tumbles over. Now that it’s off the road I kick the flares off the road. The woman gets out of her car to ask what happened. I tell her and suggest that she just go home. She suggests that WSU could take the deer, I know that will never happen.
A firefighter rolls up on his way home. He calls in and gets authorization from State Patrol to dispatch the deer. At this point he comes back with his revolver and the woman decides now is the time to leave. One of us got authorization from the state for what needed to have been done 35 minutes earlier. He fires one shot hitting the deer in the head.
About 45 seconds later the WSP officer arrives. The firefighter informs him he just dispatched the deer. The cop is elated because he won’t have paperwork for discharging his service arm. At about this point the deer starts groaning again and thrashing. Now often animals will go into the death throws but this wasn’t just the twitch of the nervous system shutting down. The firefighter had already put his weapon back in his vehicle. The officer said, “I’ll go grab the shotgun.” Without missing a beat I said, “Would you like me to save you the paperwork?” His response was, “That would be great. Need a flashlight?”
I walk down with my tac-lite and pull my XD. I plug two at the base of it’s brain stem with the second making a obvious entrance wound. Immediately it falls dead silent and only one leg continues to have a minor twitch. At this point it’s been about 40 minutes since I arrived on the scene. The deer has been removed from any pain that it did have and the whole way home I was nothing but pissed off because it took 40 minutes to get me permission from the state to do what was ethically best for the deer.
Had the woman left I would have just dropped the deer and pulled it off the road into the ditch. From talking to the officer after, had the dispatcher given me the number I would have been authorized to dispatch the animal.
Thanks to this whole mess, I now have the Colfax State Patrol number in my wallet. This is by no means how I wanted to end up shooting my first deer. Doubly so since I got to listen to it suffer for 40 minutes. 40 minutes of suffering for the animal so someone could feel like they’re being a good Samaritan trying to save it.
Blogging might be a bit light today and tomorrow. I really wish I had just killed that deer on the spot.
Barron is the owner, editor, and principal author at The Minuteman, a competitive shooter, and staff member for Boomershoot. Even in his free time he’s merging his love and knowledge of computers and technology with his love of firearms.
He has a BS in electrical engineering from Washington State University. Immediately after college he went into work on embedded software and hardware for use in critical infrastructure. This included cryptographic communications equipment as well as command and control devices that were using that communications equipment. Since then he’s worked on just about everything ranging from toys, phones, other critical infrastructure, and even desktop applications. Doing everything from hardware system design, to software architecture, to actually writing software that makes your athletic band do its thing.