Rory – No, I *got* hit by a deer
Lane – How do you get hit by a deer?
―Deer safety

The Deer Hunters is the 4th episode of Season 1 of Gilmore Girls.


After receiving a "D" in English, Rory Gilmore crams for an upcoming Shakespeare test. After a late night of studying, followed by a mishap en route to Chilton, Rory misses the test with disastrous consequences. 


It is amazing how a bad mark at school can change the course of a week. Rory finds this out when she receives a "D" on an assignment. To make things worse, a huge Shakespearean test is announced and Paris starts to gloat about her perfect grade. Back at the Independence Inn, things are not going any better. A critic recently published a review of the Inn's food that raved about nearly everything on the menu – but Sookie pounces on his use of the word "fine" to describe her risotto. This immediately depresses Sookie and she initiates a search to find out who the critic was so she can remedy the risotto. Meanwhile, Lorelai arrives at a parent-teacher interview and finds out about Rory's bad grade. Shocked, she leaves to find and comfort Rory. Together, the two girls spend the rest of the week studying for the big Shakespearean test.

Finally the test day is here and they both have overslept. A "Gilmore panic" arises and Rory runs out the door with the keys to Lorelai's jeep. On her way to Chilton, a deer hits the car (not the car hits the deer) and Rory becomes even more flustered. This delay causes her to walk into class late and results in her being told she cannot take the test. Rory doesn't think that is fair at all and creates such a fuss she is sent to the headmaster's office and her mom is called. With the mother and daughter pair being so much alike, Lorelai too agrees that it is unfair Rory isn't allowed to take the test. She then reenacts Rory's earlier "tantrum" giving the headmaster a good idea of what it is like to mess with a Gilmore. On their way home, Rory insists that they stop and look for the deer. While they walk, Lorelai tries to encourage Rory and tell her that she will be able to make it at Chilton. Once they are done looking for the deer, the two bond and head for home.


Lauren Graham as Lorelai Gilmore
Alexis Bledel as Rory Gilmore
Melissa McCarthy as Sookie St. James
Keiko Agena as Lane Kim
Yanic Truesdale as Michel Gerard
Scott Patterson as Luke Danes
and Kelly Bishop as Emily Gilmore
special appearance by
Edward Herrmann as Richard Gilmore

Recurring cast

Liza Weil as Paris Geller

Guest starring

Scott Cohen as Max Medina
Alex Borstein as Drella
Emily Kuroda as Mrs. Kim
Dakin Matthews as Hanlin Charleston


Violent pencil tossing usually signals a need for pie
Rory – I'm not stubborn.
Lorelai – Yes, you are.
Rory – No, I'm not.
Lorelai – Fine, you're not.
Rory – Thank you. 
Lorelai – You're welcome.
Rory – Oh my God, I just got hit by a deer! 
Lane – You hit a deer?
Rory – No, I got hit by a deer!
Lane – How do you get hit by a deer?
Rory – I was at a stop sign and it hit me.
Lane – Was it a 4-way stop?
Rory – What does that matter?
Lane – I don't know. I don't know what to ask after you've been hit by a deer. 
Rory – What if I change my mind?
Lorelai – It's your prerogative as long as you are a woman


  • During fall semester, Mr. Medina mentions that the next AP English exam is in a few weeks. AP exams are only offered in May.
  • The stop sign where Rory is hit by the deer is facing the wrong way.


time bomb | RANCID
my darling | WILCO
iron man | BLACK SABBATH




  • Black Sabbath, Steely Dan, Boston, Queen, Mozart, Artie Shaw, B-52s, Pat Benatar




The episode title is a reference to the 1978 film Deer Hunter.
Drella – back off Chevalier
Lorelai – No Black Sabbath, no Steely Dan, no Boston, and no Queen.
Drella – What happened to make you so cold?
Lorelai – We like that Mozart.
Drella – I am the Artie Shaw of harpists.
Lorelai – Sookie, honey. Coffee to go
Sookie – There's fresh over there
Lorelai – Fresh in my first lifetime as Joan of Arc
Max – So, are you a B-52's girl?
Drella – What do you think about Pat Benatar?
Lorelai – Great idea. Can she play the harp?
Lorelai – You once told me that you loved Saved by the Bell. What could be more humiliating than that?
Rory – What's up Quimby?
Lorelai (to Max in reference to Headmaster Charleston) – Wouldn't want you to get in trouble with Il Duce here
Lorelai – I thought this place was gonna be so great. And now, I guess this goes on the "Boy, was I wrong" list right above gauchos but just below the Flashdance phase
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