A vulture. Man they are big I think as I pass one sitting in a tree not twenty feet up and over from the road I am traversing. Road. More like a long paved driveway really than a road. It is no more than a car and quarter wide surrounded by fenced range for cattle farms or lined by deep woods.
As I swing my eyes back to the be mindful of the road I spot something out of sorts to my normal world and pull off the paved path of a road.I turn on my hazard lights and run around the van to confirm I saw what I thought I saw. I did and the next thought is now what. On the fence line not a dozen yards from me is a doe hanging from the fence. She had tried to jump the fence but landed or caught her back legs and hind quarters on the top of the barb wire fence.
I look up at the vulture and think” Not today” and move in to check on her physical state. Moving cautiously and with a since of calm belying the war inside I see she is alert and alive but she does not do more than lift her head to look at me. Her eyes are dark and maybe fearful as I check to make sure she is not bleeding badly. To my relief she does not seem to be bleeding at all. If she was bleeding badly I would have to call the State Police and have her put down. Now it is up to me to get her down.
Since I have never gotten anything off a fence but myself, there is nothing in the old memory banks to help me here but this: Do not get kicked by those powerful legs and rock hard hooves. The fence is about shoulder high to me so I plan on trying to get her front legs up and lift her hind quarter and legs over the fence. I move under her and make sure my shoulders are under her front legs and belly and move to lift her up and to get momentum going in my favor. She does not budge.
That it when I realize there are two barbs in her hide under her rear legs. As I lift with my legs to get her body weight off the fence I unhook one barb from her with my right hand. As I start to work on the last barb the doe comes alive. She starts bucking and the suddenness of it makes me try desperately to lift her higher and get under her more securely but she gets her legs going and a corner of my mind warns me I have missed something.
That something is her front legs where pulled up to her body as she hung there. She started kicking with those long and powerful legs and it has caused the bucking effect that made her weight to shift. The bank rose to the road from which I came and the bucking shifted her towards it now and more within reach. There is a sound behind me. That makes me duck my head as I feel the doe’s weight lift off me. She kicks off the sloping bank behind me and it lifts her in the air. With the involuntary help from me, as I lift her to get a better position under her belly and front legs, she is air born and I have no idea where she will land!
I look out the corner of my eyes and watch as she lands on the OTHER side of the fence. She lands almost one hundred and eighty degrees away from me on the side of the fence she came from. She gets up quickly and then she looks at me. A second later,white tail in the air, she bounds down the fence line and around the bend disappearing beyond the trees. It has happened so fast I think “Was she really here?” I checked the fence and there is a little tuft of hair on the last barb I had not freed her from. I touch the hair and there is a little blood, maybe two drops but no more. Yes she was here. It is over and she is free.
I reflect on the sound that made me duck and that was the sound of her hooves hitting the ground behind me. As I get back to the van I brush off my clothes and notice a faint muddy hoof mark on the INSIDE my pants leg. I get in the van and grab something to wipe off my hands and the deer hair off my jacket.With that finished and a faint musky smell in the air I am on my way.