Archive for Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Deer are on the move, requiring drivers to be alert

Car accidents caused by deer are most abundant from October through November. Increased animal populations due to breeding make deer-related auto accidents much more common during these months.

October 28, 2009


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It’s that time of the year: Deer are on a mission to make love and they won’t let anything stand in the way of coming across that perfect mate.

Kirby Johnson got caught up in the love-making frenzy Sunday, when a buck pranced out in front of her car, significantly delaying her trip home from the Wichita area to Lawrence.

“He hit the front of my car, smashed in the hood and the radiator into the engine, and then impacted the windshield, and then rolled on top of the hood into the ditch,” said Johnson, adding that her totaled car ended up in the wrong lane of traffic after the wreck. “I was in shock that it happened; I’m still in shock.”

Deer-vehicle accidents are a common occurrence this time of year, said Kansas Highway Patrol Trooper Josh Kellerman, especially between October and December, the peak of deer breeding season.

Last year, bucks and does caused 9,371 car crashes on Kansas roadways, according to state statistics. The deer-vehicle wrecks caused injuries to 318 drivers and killed six others.

“Just be aware,” Kellerman said. “If you see one crossing the road, that’s a good idea to slow down. They like to travel in packs so there may be more to follow.”

Deer are most prevalent on the roadway during dusk and dawn. But no matter how much you prepare, you never know when or where a deer might dart in front of your vehicle with little or no warning.

A Topeka woman was seriously injured Friday morning when she swerved to avoid hitting a deer in the middle of Kansas Highway 10, just west of Lawrence, the highway patrol said. The woman, who wasn’t wearing a seat belt, rolled her car and was ejected.

Officers say hitting the deer head-on is generally preferred.

“It can reduce your risk … of injury, by just striking the deer, instead of swerving,” Kellerman said.

The accidents that are frustrating for drivers do mean good business for local auto body shops.

“A lot of people get surprise impacts,” said Michael Pearson, of Pearson Collision Repair, Seventh and Connecticut streets. “Some of them are fairly dramatic and some of them are fairly minor.”

If the cars aren’t totaled, Pearson said the accidents can cause up to $10,000 in repair bills.

Johnson, the woman who came into contact with a deer on her way to Lawrence, is a prime example of the frustrations the out-of-nowhere deer can cause.

She’s stuck having to drive a rental car while maintaining a full-time job and going to college in Kansas City. But she’s also thankful she wasn’t badly injured.

“It could’ve been worse,” Johnson said. “I’m lucky.”


Randall Barnes 8 years, 5 months ago


riverdrifter 8 years, 5 months ago

"They like to travel in packs so there may be more to follow.” Wolves travel in packs. Deer travel in herds. Whatever, he's correct. If you have a deer crossing the road from say, left to right, be wary for more coming from your left. My trail cameras are going nuts with deer activity the past week.

Joe Hyde 8 years, 5 months ago

The fall rut, and again in springtime when the does are moving around looking for places to drop their fawns, these are very hazardous times to be a highway driver. If I'm in the country driving at night and the traffic volume is light enough, I set the cruise control at ten miles per hour under the posted maximum, sometimes fifteen below, and just ease along down the road. Divided 4-lanes like K-10, where people behind can pass freely, I do at least ten under.

On the narrower state and U.S. highways, the adjacent cover can be quite dense and stand very close to the roadway. This lets deer pop out in front of you in the blink of an eye. By going slower, you give yourself a bit more time to avoid the collision by simply braking. If you hit the deer anyway, at least your lower velocity makes impact less severe.

Trooper Kellerman is right about not swerving to avoid the animal. But our instinct to swerve is powerful and very, very difficult to fight off. No real way to train for it.

1029 8 years, 5 months ago

I was riding passenger the other day and my buddy and me come up on 6 of them standing on the side of the road. We drove up real slow but they got spooked and started to run. Well we sped up and I blasted two of them dead right on the side of the road. I think I hit one more but she ran and must of got away. Theres way to many deer out on the roads.

number3of5 8 years, 5 months ago

Just follow common sense, speed limits, and put some deer warners on your vehicle. They work!!!!!

RoeDapple 8 years, 5 months ago

Sorry 3of5, I know too many people who have used them and still hit deer.... And it appears much of the research agrees.. These findings identify factors that indicate considerable doubt concerning the effectiveness of these whistles as deterrents to car/deer collisions: 1) Some deer whistles do not emit the ultrasonic sound under the advertised operating conditions [typically when the vehicle exceeds 30 mph]. 2) The physical properties of ultrasonic sound negate its effectiveness at distances required to warn deer. 3) We know little about the auditory limits of deer, but what we do know indicates that deer hear approximately the same frequencies as humans. 4) If deer could hear ultrasound, we do not know that it would alarm them or induce a flight response. "We tested them strictly from an acoustical point of view," explains Scheifele. He found that the whistles typically produce a signal either at a frequency of 3 kilohertz (kHz) or 12 kHz. Both, as it turns out, are problematic.

The hearing range of white-tailed deer, the most common species in the United States, is between 2 kHz and 6 kHz, so the animal is not capable of hearing the 12 kHz signal. The manufacturers claim that two European studies proved that the whistles work. Not so. They were initially tried in Europe about 25 years ago but research did not prove them to be successful. Now they are being sold in the United States with European claims. The study from Finland, which the advertisers refer to, states that from all of the experiments conducted "it was unsure that the animals were not disturbed by the approach itself, so that the whistle sound was the only disturbing factor."

RoeDapple 8 years, 5 months ago

yup pikked up my purmitts yesterday one fer any dere an one fer antterles only got the fresh reloads dun up an gone site in the new leupold 4x14 this weakend gonna do my part to git them antlered vermin off the roed aint nevr hit one drivn but mrs roe hit one this yere if al goez well i cuold git three mor tags probbly hav to giv some away or donate sum to the fude kictchun

AnglNSpurs 8 years, 5 months ago

Just be aware of what is going on, you can tell where the deer are going to be by looking at your surroundings. Deer are more likely to cross the road going to food (corn, beans, milo, grass) or to shelter (wooded areas) so if you see those areas, just be extra cautious.

And my second soap box: what has texting done to our english? Case in point Roe's post. What in the world Roe were you typing? Seriously... out of your 78 word post, only 30 are spelled right, come on man! Your misspelled and grammatically incorrect post makes all hunters look like a bunch of uneducated rednecks. My eyes hurt from reading that. :) I was able to figure it out, and what a nice jesture of donating some of your harvest to food pantrys. Best of luck to you this season!

naturalist 8 years, 5 months ago

If you spot a deer standing by the side of the road or headed your way (rather than already in front of your car) and have time, honk your horn. It will usually make them turn and run the other way. I've done this many, many times successfully. I commute from a rural area and can't keep track of the number of times I've seen deer crossing the road or about to. Also have hit a couple after dark. They can be in front of your headlights before you know it so be a defensive driver!

AnglNSpurs 8 years, 5 months ago

This is what Roe's Post is saying for all of you, that have eyes hurting too! HA! Love my texting translator.

yup (Yep) pikked (picked) up my purmitts (permits) yesterday one fer (for) any dere (deer) an (and) one fer (for) antterles (antlerless) only (.) got the fresh reloads dun (done) up an (and) gone (gun) site (sighted) in (with) the new Leupold 4x14 (this is a scope) this weakend (weekend) (.) (I'm) gonna (going) do my part to git (get) them (those) antlered vermin off the roed (road) (.) (I) aint (have) nevr (never) hit one drivn (driving) (,) but mrs (Mrs.) roe (Roe) hit one this yere (year)(.) if (If) al (all) goez (goes) well i cuold (could) git (get) three mor (more) tags probbly (probably) (will) hav (have) to giv (give) some away or donate sum (some) to the fude (food) kictchun (kitchen)

puddleglum 8 years, 5 months ago

you obveeouslee don't be gittin it, do yous?

Kyle Miller 8 years, 5 months ago

Anymore mowin one down with a big ol truck is cheaper than buyin ammo for the deer rifle!! Plus, you get to stay warm doing it!

jonas_opines 8 years, 5 months ago

Say again, Listening Post 7, did not copy confirmed. . . . . southbound. . . . . Des Moines. . . . already gone. . . . . repeat. . . . deer are on the move. . . repeat. . . deer are on the move!!

Christ, they're heading right for us! Scramble scramble! Vector 134 by 5!

ralphralph 8 years, 5 months ago

Being "on the lookout" really doesn't do any good. I've never seen a deer I've hit, before hitting it, despite being alert for them. What works? Driving slower. Bottom Line = The risk is greatly overstated. Think of how many cars travel down the highway, then think of how many hit a deer. Your odds of hitting a deer are virtually "zero". You couldn't go out and hit a deer if you wanted to. So just slow down a little and look out for your neighbors who are under 25 or over 65, and you'll be addressing a more real risk to your safety.

RoeDapple 8 years, 5 months ago

Thanks AnglNSpurs, I was having a little trouble figuring out what that post was all about myself!

an that aint be no "txetin" thet be whut we calls roun heer speekin "cuzins"

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