Be wary this time of year for deer on roadways

On the recent 1,300-mile drive each way to join an annual elk hunt with my sons in Colorado, I could not help but notice the number of road-killed deer, especially one the remains of which I rolled through at about 2 a.m. in eastern Iowa.

The creature no doubt had been vaporized, it carcass likely exploding in a spray of red in a collision with a semi doing the legal 70 mph. What is 120 pounds versus 40 tons? The blood and guts, in scattered small pieces, still gleamed wet on I-80 on the “back side” of an overpass of a local highway. The trucker came over the top, there stood Bambi, there went Bambi. Boom.

A few miles later I stopped for fuel and a coffee at a convenience mart and, making idle conversation with the middle-of-night lonesome clerk, mentioned the fresh roadkill. He told me that he himself had narrowly missed a deer just the previous week on his way to work the overnight shift. But the semi behind him had not, and that animal, all but dismembered, slipped around the semi’s nose into the passing lane and the path of an automobile. “That guy got a new paint job,” the clerk said. And probably a lot more.

The moral of this story is that something like 20,000 deer are reported to get in the way of motor vehicles in Ohio, destructively, every year. So pay attention, especially now.

Most of the farm crops have been harvested at this point, so machinery moving animals out of the “corn forests” is no longer a major concern. But we are at the peak of rut, and deer will be chasing one another around, around the clock, and not just mostly at dawn and dusk. In a couple of weeks, as this is written, Ohio will field more than 400,000 or so hunters for gun week. That again will move deer any time of day. So beware.

If no matter how attentive you may be, you find a deer collision inevitable, barrel right into the animal. Brake if you can but do not swerve. Losing control of a vehicle and running off the road and rolling over are more dangerous than striking the animal head-on. That is why you have insurance. In either case, damage will occur and damage to you is less likely if you just broadside the animal and keep a straight course. That, of course, may be easier said than done, because it is counterintuitive. Which is why you have to get that notion in your head now, before it happens.

Good luck. Get your buck – with a .45/70, not a pickup.

 

Categories: Bloggers on Hunting, Ohio – Steve Pollick, Whitetail Deer

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