It's that time of year...

I'm not a hunter ... haven't killed in 35 years, with the exception of the occasional ant or spider. But I almost did tonight, on a quick trip up to the grocery store. I came up on a herd of deer, seven of them, and braked less than a dozen feet from plowing right into them...

What followed was amazing.

First of all, be careful out there if you have to drive thru wooded areas this time of year. Deer are almost invisible even on a lighted road, which mine was not.

These were, with no antlers visible, presumably all doe ("That's the last time I do that for two bucks"...Frank O. Pinion). Four of them were in the middle of the road as I approached and quickly braked. One was limping, its left front leg obviously broken. She was surrounded on the left, right and rear flank by three more deer. The rest of the herd followed. They were obviously walking her across the road to the next patch of woods, assisting her.

Wow.

I managed to brake maybe ten feet from them, my headlights on, and they did that stare thing. Then they turned and walked back to the side of the road from which they had come and all seven of them huddled. I turned on my flashers, hoping to alert drivers from either direction to the fact that something was happening.

They stood there, watching me carefully and then, as if they knew I wasn't going to move until they were safely across the road, they carefully crossed in front of me, keeping their eyes on me the whole time.

I had called my wife to tell her about all this and I guess I sounded like a stammering idiot while the herd escorted the injured doe across the road and I tried to describe what was happening.

The last of them across stood there just beyond the sidewalk, prancing a bit and keeping an eye on me, pulling a rear guard, as the herd moved into the trees. Then she moved on to follow the others.

Damndest thing I've ever seen.