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Aggressive Deer Dissuasion: Effective Solutions

Deer and car accidents

Deer are commonly used as an excuse for accidents for which the driver may be at fault for careless driving. An examination of accident reports would disclose whether the investigating officer found any physical evidence at the scene that a deer was involved in the accident. This is vital information since one of the most commonly cited deer problems is the number of deer-related vehicle accidents. [Photo: Road kill].

It is known that car-deer collisions (CDC) occur disproportionately during the winter when the deer are fleeing from hunters. State game management agencies have even acknowledged this: "Hunters ...will sometimes flush deer out of their woodland habitat and onto the roadway officials said" (Philadelphia Inquirer). Insurance actuary statistics show that CDC increases five-fold coinciding with culling actions or hunting season, indicating that lethal deer population controls exacerbate the problem of deer on the roads.

A significant portion of the deer involved in CDC were found to have been previously wounded (bullet wounds or arrows embedded in their flesh) by hunters or poachers. If such collisions increase as a result of deer being pursued by hunters, then hunting or culling is not a suitable method.

What does decrease deer motor vehicle accidents? Reflectors have been shown in tests to be highly effective. The Swareflex wildlife reflector, a roadside-installed system, and the Sav-a-Life deer alert, a device mounted on a car, are among those found to be very effective.  [To enlarge the photo of the deer reflector, click in the photo or link]

Trimming brush from the shoulders of roads is one procedure that can decrease motor vehicle deer accidents. Trimming may be especially useful in areas where foliage and brush is heavy near, or even overhanging, many roads. Other procedures include erecting deer crossing signs since it is known that deer are creatures of habit and tend to cross in the same location year after year, enforcing or lowering driving speeds, generally educating the public that dawn and dusk are the most likely times when deer will be crossing roads, and that sounding the horn will give the deer an audible signal to avoid.

Deer-proof fencing can be erected at key roadsides where other methods cannot be applied. Where there are key trouble spots where accidents occur repeatedly and where conditions do not assure effectiveness of other methods, brief stretches of deer fencing can be constructed to deter deer from crossing roads at the most dangerous sites. For example, if there is a blind curve in a low-lying area where there is an orchard on one side of the road and a stream on the other, fencing the road can move deer crossing activity elsewhere along the road where driver visibility is better. [To enlarge the photo of the deer fencing, click in the photo or link]

Go on to: Lyme disease and human health

Wildlife Watch, Inc.
(845) 256-1400
wildwatch@verizon.net
www.wildwatch.org  

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