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Thread: Deer Impacts

  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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  4. #4
    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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  5. #5
    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.
    I used to post here, but now I don't.

  7. #7
    RK Ryder
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    I try very hard to avoid night riding, especially after almost hitting one at dusk in Illinois last June.
    Paul
    Retired and riding my RTs, the '87 K100 & the '98 R1100 !
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  8. #8
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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.

  9. #9
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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.

  10. #10
    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
    IBA #44567
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  11. #11
    RK Ryder
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    Quote Originally Posted by knotbob View Post
    A friend of a friend hit a black bear on his way home
    Almost hit one on Cape Breton's Cabot trail (and all the signs said Watch for Moose.)

    This morning our OPP reported that in the last two weeks, our county has had 50 reported deer hits. During the first two weeks of November in Ontario, we average 60 deer hits a day.

    As mentioned earlier, night time is not the safest time to be travelling.
    Paul
    Retired and riding my RTs, the '87 K100 & the '98 R1100 !
    Treasurer of the Forest City Motorrad Club #159
    Knights of the Roundel #333

  12. #12
    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.

  13. #13
    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.

  14. #14
    Small road corner junkie pffog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 23217 View Post
    ........... 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. ........
    A few years ago Monroe County (Rochester) had some of the highest deer strike numbers in the state. There are HUGE herds in the suburbs, where they are safe from hunters. The deer population in Western NY is HUGE. The area around Rochester has some of the largest deer takes during hunting season, over 10 times the number/square mile of the Adirondacks. In the area there was about 10 deer taken /SQUARE MILE! Over 100,000 in western NY, (western finger lakes west) which was 1/2 of the total harvest.

    About 3 miles from me, on the edge of a small city that sits 25 miles from Rochester and Buffalo, there is a herd of about 100 deer that make their homes in wooded areas and hedge rows right at the edge of town. as soon as hunting season is over they come out in mass to graze in the neighboring fields. There are numerous strikes on the roads in the area.

    Like others said, being smarter than them is a good plan, I have read that something on the order of 70-80% of deer strikes happen 1/2 hour before and after sunrise/sunset, so I avoid riding/driving in that time if possible, of go on extra alert and slow down.

    95% of my driving/riding is on the back roads, and with over a million miles traveled, only one strike, but countless avoids, and panic stops. Best defense is heightened awareness, and diligence.
    2010 F800GS Full Ohlins package, '04 R1100S Replika
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  15. #15
    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

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