Just figured I'd share something that happened to me recently.
I was driving along a three-lane highway at noon in the center lane. I had passed through all of the nature in my area and was pretty much in the city limits. It's me and a large truck on my left, leading a traffic pack. We're cruising along, when I see a stag jumping the divider from the other side of the highway.
In a way, it was a terribly beautiful sight, seeing that deer with those magnificent antlers coming down onto the road like that.
Of course, it took me by surprise. Those of you who live in deer-ridden areas probably know that noon is as far from "peak deer activity time" as you can get. I usually watch the sides of the road that border forest or grassland; I wouldn't expect a deer to make it across three lanes before reaching me!
The truck begins to slow down, and I'm pressuring the brakes. The deer goes straight into my lane and begins to hesitate, then begins to run. It almost seemed like we wouldn't hit, and if it weren't for that truck then I could have dodged it, but I felt a light tap and figured that I must have made contact with its rump or leg. Didn't seem like a big deal - probably just a dent, I figure, but I pulled over anyway to make sure that nothing major had happened.
It was actually pretty shocking just how much damage had been done.
I couldn't open the passenger-side door, and the bumper and engine compartment guard were dangerously close to my tire, but everything was perfectly drivable. Despite being bashed in, the headlight still worked, as did the turn signal.
It seems the Compass took a bite out of the deer, too:
Looks like some deer fur caught on the hood.
From what I could see of the stag in my rear-view mirror, it had made it to the shoulder and then collapsed, but was struggling to get back up. I didn't see a body on my drive the next day, so I'm hopeful that it lived on and will hopefully have learned its lesson about roads and Jeeps.
I dropped the Jeep off today and swapped it for a Chevy Captiva rental. Everything is covered by insurance so it's no major stress, but the Captiva feels a bit stiff compared to the Compass. It supposedly gets the same mileage, but it has an "eco" button to activate fuel efficiency. I miss the Compass' CVT. The repairs should take about a week.
Lesson learned: during this time (mating season for deer in the Northeast), watch for deer on the road at all times.