The mating season for white-tailed deer has rolled around again. With it come the memories of the same time of year a decade past.

Back when I thought colliding with a deer during the mating season is something that only happened to other unfortunate folks, fate, as fate often will, had a way of proving me naïve.

I was heading home just after dark, leaving Fayetteville's city limits, when I rounded a curve and saw taillights glowing red about 300 yards ahead. Believing there was a wreck, I eased to the side of the road and stopped, waiting to see if I should turn around.

I didn't have to wait long. In less than a minute, about 75 yards ahead I saw a deer emerging in front of my headlights. It was in a full sprint toward my car. There was nothing to do--as he closed on me in a matter of seconds--but wait and see what would happen. Surely he would avoid me.

Wrong again, Mike. Instead, the deer--Boom!--ran smack into the right front of my hood, taking out a headlight and denting the car before careening away into the darkness.

Certain such an impact had to have injured him, I got out and looked for him in the field alongside the highway. But he was gone as quickly as he'd arrived.

A week and $800 later, the car was restored and I'd learned a lesson about the nature of a panicked deer in heat. I immediately stuck two of those plastic deer whistles on the front grille to warn them I'm coming, though I realized what little good they would have been in this instance since the car wasn't moving (thank goodness).

I relate this today only to warn valued readers that if a deer will run smack-dab into the front of an idling car with its headlights on, it will surely run in front of a vehicle traveling 55 miles an hour and likely cause damage and injuries. So pay attention. The threat is real.

Oh, and you might even consider stopping by an auto supply store for a couple of those inexpensive deer whistles. It can't hurt.

Benji improved

Many of you have wondered how our little taco terrier Benji is doing two months after being mauled and almost killed by a vicious pit bull mix on a peaceful morning as he walked on a leash with Jeanetta in our neighborhood.

I'm happy to report the 12-pounder seems to be pretty much back to his happy, feisty, lovable self. His right leg, which the unrestrained excuse for a "pet" ripped from its socket, seems to be responding well. The multiple tears and puncture wounds to his body all have healed, as have the injuries Jeanetta sustained from the dog a family had taken in as a stray then sheltered for three weeks, fed and even named, then tried denying ownership when police arrived.

The cops basically said, if you take a stray dog in and give it food and shelter, you acquire ownership. They were given two tickets and we don't know what happened to the beast that was allowed to leave its yard and savagely attack innocent passersby.

Thanks to those who have asked about our people-loving little tyke we are fortunate to still have in our lives.

Millions with permits

Jeanetta and I each obtained concealed-carry permits two years ago. Apparently we are far from alone. The Washington Examiner recently reported that Americans now hold just over 22 million such permits, which is up 2.3 percent from last year, according to the John Lott Crime Prevention Research Center.

And nearly half the states allow citizens to carry guns without requiring a permit, the center's report said. The prevailing thought is the number of Americans carrying guns in states that don't require a permit will eventually outnumber those in states that require their citizens to have one. Seems logical to me.

It's never the law-abiding permit holders that trouble me. Rather it's the many criminals who use guns to rob and kill innocent people. In other words, those who make it necessary for law-abiders to get such a permit.

Wouldn't it be interesting to know how many criminals have jumped through the hoops necessary to earn and purchase their concealed-carry permits?

Happy Thanksgiving

Here's wishing those reading a happy Thanksgiving and joyous Christmas season. I am truly thankful to each and every one of you for taking your valuable time to read my thoughts (whether you agree with them or not). This paper is prepared each day with you, the reader, in mind above all else.

Now go out into the world and treat everyone you meet exactly like you want them to treat you.

Mike Masterson is a longtime Arkansas journalist, was editor of three Arkansas dailies and headed the master's journalism program at Ohio State University. Email him at mmasterson@arkansasonline.com.