Written by Joe Kleinsasser Tuesday, 13 November 2012 15:45
Our state song has it all wrong. Instead of singing, “Oh give me a home where the buffalo roam and the deer and the antelope play,” we should be singing “Oh give me a home where the buffalo roam and the deer crash into cars all day.”
Honestly, the number of deer/car accidents is borderline ridiculous.
Question: What is the definition of a non-typical Whitetail?
Answer: One that stays off the highway!
If you read the police or sheriff’s report each week in the Free Press, you’ll inevitably find multiple deer/vehicle accidents that occurred somewhere in the county, especially at this time of year.
For years now I’ve said that you don’t need a hunting license to kill a deer, only a driver’s license. I should know. I’ve experienced five or six car/deer collisions. On one occasion my car was totaled, which is more than a little frightening.
And I don’t know how many other times I’ve narrowly missed hitting them.
State Farm estimates 2.4 million collisions between deer and vehicles occurred in the United States between July 1, 2007, and June 30, 2009. Or, to put it another way, one of these unfortunate encounters occurs every 26 seconds, although they are much more likely to occur at dusk and late in the year.
A number of years ago, a State Farm vice president said, “State Farm has been committed to auto safety for several decades and that’s why we want to call attention to potential hazards like this one. We hope our updated information will inspire motorists to make safe decisions.”
Until someone educates the deer to look both ways before crossing the road, all the updated information in the world won’t keep drivers from colliding with deer.
Some will say we’re to blame for this mess. Roadways have been built in close and direct proximity to deer habitat.
But it’s also true that with few if any predators threatening them, deer might as well be a protected species.
One possible answer is to allow hunters to kill more deer, but that could result in a bullet shortage. OK, maybe not, but instead of charging hunters to pay for a hunting license, maybe the state should pay them for every deer they kill. Let’s just say deer won’t be appearing on the endangered species list anytime in the foreseeable future.
Apparently there are no easy answers to the overpopulation of deer. According to one website, “Hunting does remove some animals from the population, but it does not keep deer populations at a continually reduced level. Immediately after a hunt, the remaining animals flourish because less competition for food exists, allowing the remaining animals to live healthier lives, and resulting in a higher reproductive rate.”
Still another website states, “There are more than 1 million vehicle/deer collisions each year with over 100 human deaths and a billion dollars in repair costs along with billions in damage to gardens, landscaping and agriculture and permanent damage to woodlands and prairies.
“No solution to the serious deer population problem is possible until local, state, and federal governmental agencies assume responsibility for this situation and implement a solution to this problem.”
If we have to rely on local, state and federal governmental agencies to provide an answer to the problem, we’re in trouble.
If all this damage and destruction were caused by wild hogs running amok, the state would lead the charge to capture and kill. But deer are pretty and we inherently like them.
According to Wikipedia, “The U.S. government does not sanction any specific manufacturer that may reduce or monitor deer-vehicle collisions. The investigation and implication of deer-vehicle collision prevention methods remains a responsibility of state governments.
“State wildlife agencies have much concern for the preservation of deer and other wildlife that become involved in vehicle collisions due to roadway expansion and development.”
Is it too much to ask for an agency, any agency, to fight on behalf of the people?
Perhaps now you understand why I tell my sons, “Bambi is not your friend.”