High season for deer collisions; dozens of families benefit from the meat

SOMESVILLE, Nov. 18, 2020 – To snowbird readers of QSJ who are ensconced in their Florida condos, Arizona casitas or California beach houses, there is no venison for you!

That’s because there is very little chance of you hitting a deer with your vehicle.

In Maine, however, there is a one in 91 chance of your vehicle colliding with a deer (or other animals) which was what happened to me two years ago as I drove my rental car away from the Southwest Harbor waste station. The deer actually ran into me.

This is high season for collisions because bucks are “in rut” and seeking a mate. According to State Farm, Maine ranks second only to Rhode Island in New England as having the best chance of a collision and is considered a high risk state. For deer MDI is actually a pretty good deal. There is no danger of being shot because hunting is forbidden. And the habitats are fecund and food is abundant.

DATA ON DEER COLLISIONS IN MAINE

Venison is my favorite red meat but it’s very difficult to procure. QSJ residents more resourceful than I have figured out an easy way to get deer meat. They are on a rotating list of claimants at MDI police departments. Police first offer the dead deer to the driver and then refer to the list of folks willing to come to the scene.

For the less adventuresome, here are State Farm’s recommendations to avoid a collision:

1. The most important thing you can do during rut is slow down, keep your eyes peeled on both sides of the roadway and be prepared to come to a complete stop if necessary. Deer don’t stop, look and listen before they dart into the roadway. Deer-crossing signs warn of where they’re most likely to cross, but you can’t count on that, especially during rut.

2. You don’t want to blind oncoming motorists, but you should use your high beams when possible to increase your chances of seeing animals in the ditches. Flicking on your high beams might cause animals to scurry away, but it’s not a sure thing. Your headlights might actually temporarily blind or confuse them, and they might dart in front of you.

3. Know all you can about deer lifestyles and when they’re most active: around mealtime. Deer crashes usually occur an hour after sunset but also are common around sunrise, according to published research, but that doesn’t mean you should let your guard down at other times.

4. Know that when you see one deer, you’re likely to see another. They travel in herds, often in single file.

5. Don’t veer to avoid deer. No good will come from that. Most car-deer crash deaths and injuries occur when motorists swerve to miss the deer. Instead, brake firmly, hold on to the steering wheel and stay in your lane as you bring the vehicle to a controlled stop.

Also, because it makes sense, make sure you’re wearing your seat belt. If you do hit a deer, it will decrease the chances you will be injured.

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