This is a story where the perpetrator must remain anonymous. Hereinafter he shall be called, “He who learns the hard way” or simply, “He Who.” He Who plotted over the long winter days about how to feed corn to a deer for a few weeks to fatten it up. Grain- fed venison, he envisioned. Succulent. His first step was to procure a deer. Many congregated at his cattle feeder. Positioning himself behind the feeder, he waited, rope in hand. He Who stepped out, threw his loop and caught a doe around the neck. She just stood there and stared at him.

He Who looped the rope around his waist and twisted the end, thinking, “Deer don’t weigh much more than a sheep or a small calf, I’ll break it to lead in a hurry!” He learned that pound for pound, a deer is a lot stronger than a calf, a colt, a linebacker, a Land Rover or Brie cheese in a microwave.

At the first tug, the deer exploded. It ran, bucked, sun-fished, twisted, thrashed, kicked, whirled, moon-walked and did the cloven-hoofed two-step.

He was jerked off his feet and dragged until the deer got tired. It took him a minute to focus. He was mostly blinded by the blood flowing from the big gash above his hairline, and the large knots where he’d tried to slow the deer by bracing his head against large rocks as he careened across the ground. He could have let go of the rope, but he worried that it might snag in the brush and choke the doe to death.

He Who began easing up the rope with the intent to loosen the noose. Never in a million years did he think a deer would bite. She clamped her jaws on his hand and shook her head like a pit bull locked on a paint shaker. Once he loosened the rope, He Who turned to run. The deer struck him from behind with her front feet and knocked him flat. Then she jumped up and down on his back as he covered his head, and in his words, “cried like a little girl.”


Epilogue: He Who managed to drive as far as the co-op where employees called 9-1-1. In a small town, that means everyone comes. On the way to the hospital, he tried to think his story through. Is it illegal to rope a deer? Will it become an animal rights issue? Were deer an endangered species? So he told the police, paramedic, propane deliveryman, local vet and game warden that he was attacked by a deer when he went out to feed. The evidence was there; his hand was mauled, there were deer tracks on his back and the middle of his forehead from when he peeked over his shoulder.

Everybody for miles around heard about the deer attack. For weeks people dragged their kids indoors when they saw deer, and local ranchers carried rifles when they filled their feeders. He Who was looked on with sympathy and admiration. He was a minor hero.

Oh, and did I tell you that as his legend grew, he continued to forget the roping part? PD