Wildlife Incident Story

I thought that this would be an interesting topic that got me to check my pants after this incident. Brief Background of me and the aircraft: I had about 200 hours at the time, the aircraft is a 2005 Cessna 172R NavIII G1000. Took place at KRFI Rusk County Airport, Texas

I was doing some pattern work in the later part of the afternoon/early evening during the Summer of 2016. I had been in the pattern for about 30 minutes, and got about 8 landings in during that period. From the pictures that you can see, there is a tree line that surrounds the airport but there is no fence. The only fencing on the field is that near the main entrance of the airport and near the service road which are not visible in the pictures.

Fast forward a few minutes, I’m on left downwind for Runway 35 for Touch and Goes, advising traffic in the area to communicate with me. I was also informing those around me my intentions. By the time, I turn base, and final for Runway 35, I have the aircraft on speed, the aircraft fully configured. Everything was going perfectly, until I heard a massive “THUD”. I knew right off the bat, that something had happened and it was not good. With quick thinking, I aborted the touch and go, advising Unicom at the time of my intention, and pulled off the runway immediately. Fortunately/Unfortunately, depending on how you look at this, this airport, KRFI, is a Class E. This airport was not as busy with air traffic, and I was the only one utilizing the runway at the time. There was no tower, or emergency personnel etc.

As I stepped out of the aircraft and turned around to the approximate point that I hear the “Thud” you will see that from the picture that I struck a Deer, yes a Deer. I have blurred out the photo for those that may be sensitive to this. (There is no blood) The damage to the aircraft was done, but not as significantly as one would expect. The left main strut, and the prop, missed the animal completely…thank god, but the horizontal stabilizer was not as fortunate. There were some other pilots that were in the lounge when they saw the incident occur. Their quick thinking was helpful as they called the Department of Wildlife to the scene. In the first picture you can see the truck. I had to fill out paperwork, and a bunch of other not so fun stuff.

In a situation like this, it is imperative that one maintains control even through a crash, collision, whatever you want to call it. Making the right decision to abort a takeoff rather than continuing was the right call as you could see from the damage done to the horizontal stab. If you have made it this far in this anecdote, you will understand where my username for the forum has now come from. 😉

Both images are watermarked by me and were taken by me.



Interesting story! Kudos to you. Glad you are ok.

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That’s an awesome story, thanks for sharing. I’ve heard of some freak encounters that always end tragically- most for the animal, some for the person as well, but man this one takes the cake by far and glad I can laugh cause you’re ok, that’s great… so there you have it people, in the interest of FULL aviation realism, sounds like we got a new feature request for IF ;) #deer4global


what a well told story too, he was talking about radioing traffic and I thought we had a fun but technical aviation story to discuss, really did not see that coming, still enjoying this

Ironic as your username is @DeerCrusher


The trend starts here. lol #deer4global


Wow! Glad you made it ok. It’s amazing the amount of damage a deer can do to a car or plane. Looks like you were luck to get it back on the ground ok.


glad everything went well :)

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I don’t know wether is story is interesting, or horrifying. Glad there was no bigger damage done (Except to that poor deer).

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I walked away from that unhurt. No scratches or bruises. Just another thing to cross off when someone asks, “What interesting thing has happened to you in aviation?”


Nice story. By the way, “8 landings in 30 minutes” sounds a bit exaggerated in my opinion, a full regular pattern takes around 7-10 minutes depending on the length of the legs and the speed of your aircraft which makes the 8 landings part a bit questionnable.

So this is why your name is DeerCrusher…


Ding, ding, ding! ⭐️


Had a similar incident when I was coming in with my instructor a while back during PPL training. Saw a deer close to the runway and as I was coming in for the numbers saw it Cross and immediately when full power cleaned it up and went around all in a matter of about 3 seconds. Scared the shoot out of me

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I thought you hit the deer in the air…

RIP Mr Deer 2016.


That would be a little cooler

“Flying deer gets hit by innocent GA Pilot”


No wonder your name is @DeerCrusher!


You connected the dots


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