Well, it’s only happened twice. But still, it’s a total pain in the butt. I live in a rural area, in dense forest. Animals like deer love to make the forest their home. I see deer all the time in my yard, especially when my blueberry bushes and fruit trees have fruit on them. It’s very picturesque when the deer come around and graze in my yard, even more so when there are baby deer in tow—the spotty little gangly legged creatures are adorable and I could watch them for hours.

But then there is the dark side of deer. The side that has them bounding across the street in the dark at night, and you see them in the headlights of your car moments before you collide with them. It’s happened to me twice.

The first time was the summer after I graduated from college. I moved north of Boston to my first apartment, and had my first post college job. I was 22, and still at the age where I drove all over creation on weeknights to go see concerts hundreds of miles away. I drove from my apartment to my hometown of East Windsor, Connecticut and picked up my friend Leon so we could go to see Phish in Hartford. We went to the concert, and then I drove him home. A few miles from his house I was driving back toward Boston, some time around a million o’clock. I was tired, and completely sober despite just having seen Phish. I didn’t even see the deer coming. It slammed into the driver’s side of my car and dented my door and the back passenger door. It crunched up the fender too. I got out to assess the damage. The deer was lying on the side of the road. I had no way to call the cops. But the deer was still alive. I briefly considered bashing it in the head with a rock to put it out of its misery. I even looked for a rock using my headlights. I found one, and walked back toward the deer with it. Then I had the “What the hell are you thinking? You can’t do this!” thought and I tossed the rock back onto the side of the road.

“I know!” I thought. “Leon is in the army. He has a gun. I’ll go back to his house and get him to bring his gun!” So I drove back over there. All the lights were off in his house by the time I got back. Again I had the “what the hell are you thinking?” thought. I drove back past the deer, which looked like it had died, and continued on to Boston. I never bothered to call the cops, as I am sure I reeked of pot after just having been to a Phish show, even though I did not partake as I knew I would be driving. After I got back to my apartment I got the car repaired and moved on with my life.

And then it happened again on Friday night. This time I hit it almost dead on. I was coming back from seeing a Providence Bruins game. I turned off my exit, and continued north on my road. I passed the truck stop and the Dunkin Donuts and started up the hill. Then I saw the deer run into the street. I slammed on the brakes, but it wasn’t enough. I slammed into it. I slammed into it so hard that it turned a full somersault in mid-air as it flew from my left headlight into the oncoming lane. Luckily there wasn’t another car coming from the other direction.

I wasn’t going that fast, but fast enough for the dull thud to register alarm. I pulled over and turned on the flashlight on my phone. The left headlight was all jacked up, the grill was broken, there were pieces of car on the street. There were tufts of deer fur lodged in the grill. The hood was crunched into a small mountain range, the fender was pushed back. A police officer pulled up behind me. A car had driven by and seen what happened and then noticed the cop was at the Dunkin Donuts I’d just passed. The cop was there in minutes, insert stereotypical cop jokes here.

He asked me if I was OK, I was. My airbags didn’t deploy. He said if I’d been going faster the deer would have hit the windshield and I could have been injured. He asked me what happened to the deer, and was relieved that he wouldn’t need to shoot it. Me too.

It happened only 5 or so miles from home, so I drove it home, pulled it into the garage and examined the damage under better light. I filed the insurance claim.

Today the insurance adjuster came. My car, a Mini Cooper convertible, is a 2011, 7 years old, is only worth $9600. To consider the car a total loss, it would take $6,900 in repairs. The adjuster says there is $6,200 in damages.

BJ Knapp author of Beside the Music hit a deer with her car

Is a new car in my future?

BJ Knapp is the author of Beside the Music, available for purchase here. Please sign up for the Backstage with BJ Knapp mailing list to get updates on events, signings, dog pictures and so much more.

BJ Knapp is the author of Beside the Music, available for purchase here. Please sign up for the Backstage with BJ Knapp mailing list to get updates on events, signings, dog pictures and so much more.