Yes, Yard Deer. What are yard deer? They are the decorative deer that pop up in people's yards this time of year. At least that is what they have come to be known as in our family. I can't remember how long it's been now, but years ago, Steve and I began commenting on (maybe even poking a little fun at) how popular the deer became as a decoration. Once somebody would put some in their yard, it wasn't long before at least one neighbor had them in their yard too. It was almost like a contagious disease the way it spread. We started counting the yard deer whenever we went somewhere and that is how our Yard Deer game began. Now that we have kids and one is old enough to look out the car windows and count with us, it's even more fun. We have even made up official rules for Yard Deer. Here they are:
1. It must be a deer. It can be made of any material - wire, wood, concrete, plastic, inflatable or whatever. It can be lit or not, but it must be a deer - no moose, bears or any other animal. They need not be Christmas deer. If they are year round decorations, they are fair game and can be counted. You can count the target practice deer if you want. Real, living deer do not count because it would be tough to make them stay in a yard as a decoration.
2. It must be outside. It can be in the yard, on a porch or even a roof, but it must be outside. If it's a decoration in a window that doesn't count because it's in the house.
3. If they are a display at a store that are for sale or an example of what you can buy at the store, they don't count.
4. You count the deer on your side of the road. Back seat passengers team up with the person in front of them. If there is somebody in the back middle seat, they get to pick whose team they are on. The deer must be on the road you are on not side roads you pass by.
5. Once you get to your destination, the game is over and the person/team with the most deer wins.
Some alternate possibilities:
1. Poaching Rule: If you go past a house with deer that are not on your side and your opponents miss them, you can poach them and add them to your total.
2. Continuation Rule: Instead of ending the game at your destination, you can continue once you get back into the car. This is good when you have several places to go before heading back home. The game would start when you leave your home and end when you get back home.
3. Alternate Rule: If you live in an area where there aren't a whole lot of deer, pick another semi-popular decoration people use in your area as an alternative to deer. You don't want to pick something that is super common - like just Christmas lights - because that would kind of kill the thrill of the hunt.
4. Toddler Rule: For very young children, have them join in by pointing out all the houses they see that have lights or decorations. That way they can join the fun without feeling left out.
I think I have covered all of the Yard Deer rules but if there are any questions, feel free to ask in a comment.