Being out in the countryside with my dogs gives me time to think. I’ve learnt the pleasure of solitude without being lonely, and that’s a good feeling for me.

Welcome to "Man with two dogs" - the family website for dog owners and dog walkers.

This is my countryside diary which appears each Saturday in the Dundee Courier newspaper.

Roe deer rams

December 6th, 2003

LAST WEEK'S mention of the roe deer brought a response from Deputy Features Editor, Ian Lindsay.

Ian recounted a recent “brush” he had with a roe on the outskirts of Cupar. It leapt over a hedge at the moment Ian drove past, appearing in mid-air before him. He had no warning, nor the time to brake, and hit the beast at about 50mph. Not surprisingly, but mercifully, the deer was killed instantly.

I can relate to the real sense of shock I'm sure Ian experienced. A roe deer may not be much bigger than a large dog, but when you meet one head-on, and at speed, it's like colliding with a brick wall. The damage they can inflict is substantial, and if the car needs repaired it affects your no-claim discount!

I had a similar experience, at night-time, on the Brechin to Friockheim road. The deer had obviously been determined it would cross over to the other side of the road. It seemed nothing, not even the headlights and the sounds of the car, was going to divert it once it had made up its mind.

The beast leapt from the verge as I was practically on it. I hit it full on and it flew straight over the top of the car. It, too, was very dead. The Doyenne and daughter Cait were in the car with me and the three of us got quite a shake-up.

My first accident with a roe deer was about thirty years ago in the depths of winter and on ice-bound roads. The deer had lost a foreleg at the knee, and emerging from the side of the road just in front of me, it started to hobble across.

If I had slammed on my brakes I might very well have lost complete control of the car in the icy conditions. Instead I took my foot off the accelerator and hoped I would lose enough speed for the deer to scramble away.

I reckon it had been caught in a snare. It had effectively “sawn” through the knee joint in its efforts to escape from the snare. If it had had full use of all four legs I'm sure it would have had the agility and speed to escape unscathed.

I remember its injury had completely healed, so it had been lame for some time. The deer came from un-keepered woodlands, and while snares might have been set for foxes, it may have been a cruel attempt at deer poaching.

Over the years I've encountered a number of these accidents. There is almost a perceived sanctuary on the other side of the road, which the deer HAS to reach. In their determination to cross at a particular spot and at a particular moment they sometimes seem to press a self-destruct button.

Written on Saturday, December 6th, 2003 at 2:56 pm for Weekly.