About 5:10 or 5:15 this afternoon, I was down here at my lower-level office, and I heard Hopper the black Tibetan terrier bark and growl. Stewie the schnauzer and his dad already had their walk so it wasn’t them irritating this watchdog. I didn’t see any UPS truck from my window so I went upstairs and looked from Hopper’s viewpoint, from the living room window.
Then I saw the deer, a doe, I guess, having no antlers, smallish but likely full grown so a young adult. It was in the vacant lot across Valley View and to the right, north of the Steeles’ house, heading toward Wedington Drive.
I decide to quietly step out the front door, and it did not notice me. It was intent on watching Wedington. It wanted to cross that four-lane state highway spur. It had gotten close to Wedington’s sidewalk at that point.
Just then, Trish from next door (to the left) drove her dark gray minivan down. She slowed, must’ve seen the deer as well. I don’t know if she had either or both of her boys in the car. The deer noticed her minivan and froze. Then Trish took off, to the right, east.
The deer did a little pacing, trying to time the cars. It was 5:15 and as high as traffic gets there, outside of just before or after a Razorback game. I froze, too.
There was a slight gap, sort of, in eastbound traffic, and the deer walked briskly, not a run, into the street. From the right, going west, were a few vehicles. Would the deer make it? It would if it ran. In the inside westbound lane, so nearest me, traveled a white full-sized van, about in speed with the rest of the traffic so not slow but not barreling down, either.
The white van struck the deer broadside, on its right chest mainly. The deer was airborne not that many feet. I saw its white belly so it must’ve rotated some in the air, and it landed on the outside lane, hitting the asphalt with its left side.
Then it scampered up, righting itself, and trotted through the yard on the north side of Wedington.
I saw no limp.
Traffic in either direction slowed. The white van proceeded very slowly. I saw no damage to it, no cracked windshield, although I think the deer hit the glass more than the bumper or hood.
I walked down our driveway. It just started to rain again (it was drizzling off and on all afternoon). Once into the street I saw the white van come back in the same direction. It must’ve made three rights. And it turned into that yard’s driveway. A man got out of the driver’s side, wearing a light brown or dark tan windbreaker kind of jacket — it was dusk and the sky heavily overcast — and walked toward the back-left of the house where he, as well as I, had seen the deer scamper to.
By this point I was nearly to Wedington. I saw that deer run right, eastward, I guess away from the man on foot. I lost sight of the deer at Oak, the next cross street over. It’s the top of a little hill at that point.
I don’t think the driver saw the deer at all like I just did. In a moment or two he got back into his van and drove away.
I walked toward Oak and decided not to cross Wedington at rush hour. I wouldn’t see the deer at that point; it’d run from me if it hadn’t already continued north along or near Oak Street.
I believe the deer was trying to catch up with a mate, its family or the rest of its little herd. It was trying not to get left too far behind, if I’m reading its mind correctly.
We have deer here sometimes. There seems to be a deer path under a set of north-south utility lines that goes between the houses in this Sunset Hills neighborhood.
While I’m guessing, I don’t see how this doe could not have avoided internal injuries and broken ribs. Its legs obviously are fine. This has left me hoping it finds its fellow deer and lives a while among them. I don’t see how it could survive for a lot of hours after being hit by a 30 mph or 45 mph van.
I went back inside for Hopper and Mani, leashed them up and walked them a little up and down our lane. Then I brought them inside and fed dinner to them and the cats.