This Deer's Life

animal and motorist lives collide in northwestern WI

Mike Paulus

So, I killed a deer by accident. I did this with my bare hands. And my car. It wasn’t the first time, and I hope it’s the last. This most recent deer-slaying-by-automobile was on Highway 53 way up north where these inconsiderate deer have the gall to run willy-nilly across the roads we’ve built. It’s crazy – if we’d left Eau Claire a few minutes earlier, or if the deer had stopped to talk to its friend Mr. Bear, the universal timing would have been off and we wouldn’t have driven into the deer at 65mph right as it leapt onto the highway. I also wouldn’t be driving my mom’s car for three weeks and looking at a $250 deductible. 

The last time I was in a deer-related accident (with the same car, no less) was different – the deer ran into the side of the car. At the time, as far I was concerned, the deer actually hit me. 

After about five minutes of painstaking internet research, I’ve learned that there’s some debate over what constitutes a deer hitting your car, as opposed to you hitting a deer in cases such as my previous deer-smacking. I feel it’s important to point out that only stupid people have this debate. On one side, people will vehemently defend the deer, motivated by what I assume is a love of furry animals and Bambi-themed bed sheets. On the other side, helpless-feeling drivers don’t want to be blamed for the incident.

When deer and vehicle collide, there is often nothing that could have been done to avoid the accident. At any rate, blaming a deer for running into a moving car is like blaming a tree for falling on your house. It’s nature. Deer run around, and no one is to blame for that. Eventually, if you live in northern Wisconsin, all these running deer will affect your life in the form of raised car insurance premiums. And unless the driver is a dumbass who doesn’t pay attention to the road, blaming them for the accident is equally pointless – they didn’t make the tree fall, so to speak.