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Thread: Deer Impacts

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  1. #1
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    Deer Impacts

    I live in a region of the country where deer are quite prolific. I see deer crossing the road in front of me about every 750 miles, and have a close call every 5,000 miles. This year, I had one encounter where I could have grabbed it's tail. For me, deer are, by far, the most dangerous part of my ride. 25 years ago, I would have one close call every 10 years. Some populations studies seem to support my observation.

    State Farm Insurance just released their annual study of vehicle impacts, and which states are most dangerous. You can read that report here.

    I find State Farm's report flawed. I live in New York, and my state rates #23 by the number of licensed drivers. But, most licensed drivers live in five major cities (NYC, Albany, Syracuse, Rochester, and Buffalo) where there are very few deer. Get outside these cities, and your chances of a deer impact climb dramatically. New York State Dept of Environment Conversation uses the report to regulate and justify the amount of deer. I find New York's deer management plan highly flawed. What is your experience in other parts of the country?

    Cornell University Cooperative Extension has produced a very informative publication about the risk of deer impacts and how they can be reduced. You can read it here

    This publication has some good suggestions and observations. Over the years I have developed my own deer avoidance procedure while riding. What do you do to avoid deer impacts?

    I bring this up now because November is the month where there is the highest probability of a deer impact.

    Mods: Since we don't have a Rider Safety Forum, this seemed like the best place for it. Please move the post if you believe there is a better forum.

  2. #2
    Minnesota Nice! braddog's Avatar
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    Mostly, I avoid riding after dark. Yes, it can still happen during the daylight hours, but depending on where I'm at, I've got a better chance of seeing them.

    I rarely, if ever, ride after dark these days.

    On one trip to visit my mother in North Dakota a few years ago, I counted 10 dead deer along the side of the road. This was in a 130 mile stretch.
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  3. #3
    Survivor akbeemer's Avatar
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    Swan Lake to Seeley LakeMT = 57 miles. In early June when we rode that stretch of road there was a sign that said there had been 77 deer strikes so far this year. They are like wood rats lining up to hurl themselves at vehicles. Shoot them... shoot them all.
    Kevin Huddy
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    Registered User kgadley01's Avatar
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    I've hit two differant deer while riding a motorcycle. I was young and living in north west Penna. Its now been over 40 years since I've hit one, but I'm still scared of deer. I rarely ride at night, and if I do I ride slowly
    AKA SNAPGADGET
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    ABC,AMA(LIFE),MOA,RA,IBMW MANICMECHANIC's Avatar
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    So far it's me-3, deer-0 on bikes. Almost got another this morning on the way home from work. Not fun at all. For a while I was waiting for the DNR to get me either for hunting out of season or without a license.
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  6. #6
    It is what it is. Bud's Avatar
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    I live in S. Illinois where the deer are thick on the roads and very, very dumb. They are genetically engineered to try to run in front of you, when, if they only slowed down for a couple of seconds, they could run behind you and live.

    What to do?

    DO NOT RIDE AT NIGHT Hard enough to see them coming at you during daylight, at night you stand very little chance.

    I stopped night riding after Larry Grodsky was killed when he hit a deer at night in TX. He was a nationally known Motorcycle Safety Expert and still lost to a deer at night.

    Dr. Greg Frazier, who has ridden around the world on a motorcycle three times says he thinks riding at night is not worth the risk.

    Why do state DNR's use the State Farm data? Because it is free to them and gives them a reason to do what they do.
    Ride Well

  7. #7
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    Black bear!

    A friend of a friend hit a black bear on his way home from Daytona 2012 Biketoberfest on his Harley at night running 65mph. The bear disappeared into the woods but an on coming car almost ran over the man trying to miss the bear. He was lucky enough to not damage his brain although his helmet was cracked and he has a laundry list of broken or fractured bones.
    I googled this thinking it would be a rare occurrence but of course it has happened before.
    That's a good reason to be at home or at camp after dark.

  8. #8
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    I have almost hit a bear twice in the last two years. One was a 600 lb male black bear, and the other time it was a 150 lb black bear.

    You are more likely to hit a deer between 5 pm and 7am. You are 3 times more likely to hit a deer in the Fall (Oct-Dec) with November having the most collisions. 65% of the fatalities are from riders without helmets. Most deer impacts happen around bridges/overpasses, streams, ditches. Deer are also habitual, and will cross in the same place.

    Riding at night is a real good way to hit a deer. You also cannot use other method to stop deer from crossing or take evasive action to avoid an impact.

    There doesn't seem to be any statistics on what types of animals are hit. But, the best guess I could find is that 90% of animal impacts are deer. Others are bears, moose, dogs, etc. I also have a hard time finding statistics on deer impacts by county. The statistics do exist.

    One study showed that when they provided underpasses for deer and fenced off the road, deer impacts were virtually zero.

  9. #9
    IBA #44567 Ken F's Avatar
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    I don't see why we don't just increase the amount of hunting permits and thin the herd. There has been an explosion of the deer population in the last 20 years.
    Why spend money building "underpasses", bridges, ect for deer.
    Just thin them out.

    Ken
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  10. #10
    Cage Rattler wezul's Avatar
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    Ya know, what Bud said.
    Bambi is cute but dumb as a stick.

    Why is it . . . . one goes . . . . they all go.

  11. #11
    Old man in the mountains osbornk's Avatar
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    I quit riding at night after a good friend's son was killed by a deer. He was riding late at night when he was hit broadside by a running deer. The deer's hoof punctured his lung but he was killed when his head hit the ground when the bike crashed (no helmet).

    Most of my riding is on mountain roads through wooded terrain. I keep a lookout on the sides of the road for deer so I can take evasive actions before they get to the road.

    Riding where there is little traffic, the biggest dangers to me are deer and gravel.
    'You can say what you want about the South, but I almost never hear of anyone wanting to retire to the North.

  12. #12
    Registered User PeoriaMac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wezul View Post
    Why is it . . . . one goes . . . . they all go.
    They are herd animals....We've probably got a dozen living on our property. I see them
    every night. Unfortunately they may be getting more used to me. I have two very bright
    running lights to spot their beady little eyes....

    Mac

    BTW, if you're feeding the birds, you could be feeding the deer as well....
    Mac
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  13. #13
    Registered User 36654's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken F View Post
    I don't see why we don't just increase the amount of hunting permits and thin the herd. There has been an explosion of the deer population in the last 20 years.
    Why spend money building "underpasses", bridges, ect for deer.
    Just thin them out.

    Ken
    Oh yeah, then listen to the hunters howl about not getting their bag limits (i.e., filling the tag) or the racks being too small. We live with that argument every year in PA. It seems that most of our voters feel that the primary focus of state government should be maximizing the deer herd.

    BTW - I've hunted most all of my life and still keep my farm property open for hunting.
    Cave contents: 99 R11RS, 2013 Toyota Tacoma, 03 Simplicity Legacy, 97 Stihl FS75, Dewalt DW625 & DW744

  14. #14
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    I don't see why we don't just increase the amount of hunting permits and thin the herd. There has been an explosion of the deer population in the last 20 years.
    Here is what Jeremy Hurst (Big Game Biologist for the NYS DEC) said: "Based on State Farm?« data, NY ranks #3 for total number of deer-vehicle collisions, but once the number of licensed drivers is factored in, NY ranks #23 for likelihood of an individual having a deer-vehicle collision. These data from State Farm?« give us a general picture of the trends of deer-vehicle collisions in the state....These data are not useful for making deer management decisions at the wildlife management unit scale. Rather, they simply illustrate the scope of impact that deer populations have on NY drivers."

    We asked them for deer impacts by county, but they claim they don't keep this information. Right now, we are trying to get it from the DMV. I think the county stats would tell a much different story.

    He then states: "Interestingly, every year I talk to hunters who seem convinced that NY deer management is run by the auto insurance industry. Yet, I can definitively say that DEC staff make decisions about deer management without influence from auto insurers. In fact, in the years I've been part of the deer program and working with our regional biologists to set antlerless harvest quotas, I have not once been contacted by an auto insurance representative. "

    I find his comments not in line with local hunters. Most local hunters get their deer on the first day of hunting season. They believe that the doe population needs to be thinned drastically. It is only the hunters from NYC and NJ who want high deer populations. I am sure that Mr. Hurst knows this. Locals complain constantly about the excessively large deer population.

  15. #15
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    Hunting seasons should definitely be open much more of the year and with much higher limits in many places. We've got way too many rats out there and they're (especially in upstate NY where corn and apples are high in their diet) good eating.

    Here in NC, limits have been 2 a day and 5 on a license- and you can buy multiple licenses.
    Even with that we can't keep populations from growing. I used to hunt with a club averaging 11 kills per season per hunter- 550 total- and we didn't even dent the deer on the approx 30,000 acres we hunted.

    NY had about 250,000 deer in the whole state when its current game laws were passed and now certainly has close to 2 million or more..
    What it needs is a revamp to encourage cullng (no doe permits, for example- just a 2 or 3 per day limit, changes to bowhunting and gun laws), especially around suburbs where accident rates are high. I moved away from NY (just outside Buffalo) in 1983 but even then we were seeing big increases in deer hits in suburbs and its gotten much worse since.

    The objections of bambi huggers should be squashed or ignored and replaced with better control practices. We're in no danger of a shortage of deer- they breed faster than fish and nearly as fast as squirrels. And they make much better Italian sausage and burgers..

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