Author Topic: Avoiding Deer and other local Critters while riding  (Read 953 times)

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Offline KansasMarine87

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Avoiding Deer and other local Critters while riding
« on: April 03, 2019, 12:57:01 pm »
I've had several riders ask me how I seem to know when to be on the look out for deer, raccoons, skunks, etc while we're out riding. I live in Northeast Kansas so we've got a pretty good deer population and I have a couple of riding friends that have had to deal with a deer strike while riding, as well as several friends and family that have hit them with cars.
Most of it is actually knowing the animals. I've hunted since 1981 so I have LOTS of experience around wild animals. And i'm not talking about shooting a deer out of the window of a pickup truck, but actually getting within 50 yards of a deer, in his own backyard, without him knowing i'm there. Below are some things to keep in mind while you're out riding the backroads.

Whitetail Deer
1. Early morning and dusk are primary movement times.
2. The first two weeks of November is breeding season. The bucks get stupid and move constantly. Most accidents involving male deer happen during this time of year in Kansas.
3. Early Spring (Feb-Apr) The does have broken away from the group and are having their babies. They don't cover as much ground and you'll see the same couple of deer, in the same area on a consistent basis.
4. Summer - The hot weather in Kansas keeps the deer moving almost exclusively at night. The fawns are old enough to be out following Momma and haven't learned to fear the roads so a lot of little guys meet their end during this time of year.
5. Full Moon - The deer usually follow the lunar cycle and tend to be out moving during the full moon. The extra light helps them see, and if you're cautious , it can help you see them quicker as well.
6. Know the area you're riding. If you've got crop fields on either side of the road, theres a better chance of seeing deer. And in the Spring/Summer months that tall corn can hide them until the very last minute.

Raccoons
1. These critters seem cute, but they can sure cause some damage. I hit one on my Yamaha Venture a few years back and it cracked the oil filter cover, leaking oil all over my rear tire. ZERO fun. They tend to be nocturnal and are small enough to escape notice until the last minute.
2. Trash Day. These guys love people. We feed them without even knowing it. If it's trash day and everyone has their barrels out to the curb, beware. Same goes for Opposums.
3. Breeding season is usually in February in Kansas (January in southern states). That means you're more likely to see them during daylight hours since the males are out looking for a hot date.

Skunks
1. This can be the worst experience on a motorcycle, next to an accident involving another vehicle. If you think that skunk stinks when it sprays the car, imagine it covering your bike, AND YOU, with that wonderful odor. Good luck finding someone to hang out with for the next couple of weeks.
2. Like raccoons, skunks tend to be nocturnal, so nighttime rides are the biggest time to be on the look out for them.
3. Also, like raccoons, their breeding season starts in February in Kansas (January in southern states) and you're more likely to see two or three males chasing around a receptive female at this time, which raises the chances of hitting one, or more at a time.
4. May - Momma and her new babies are usually getting out for their first ventures at this time. Like most critters, young skunks have to learn the hard way about roads and humans, so be on the look out during these time periods.

Ride safe and enjoy the views!!!
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Offline connie_rider

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Re: Avoiding Deer and other local Critters while riding
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2019, 02:07:47 pm »
All good info.
I'll add 1 thing to help with the the avoidance.

Keep your eyes and head moving, and your brain engaged..

Ride safe, Ted
   
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Offline Tundra Tom

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Re: Avoiding Deer and other local Critters while riding
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2019, 12:08:04 pm »
Great post! Deer are thick here also.
A few other points...
When you see a Deer cross the road look where it came from NOT where it’s going. They follow each other allot.

If you see one grazing in the Ditch don’t honk the Horn as this may startle it and send it running into your path.

If there is one standing in the road use rapid beeps of your horn, not a long blast. This helps the Deer locate the “danger” and causes more panic to move off the road faster.

If collision is inevitable keep the wheels straight and just hit it. Avoidance will likely have you flipping in the Ditch, hitting a tree, guardrail etc. I personally know riders that plowed into a Deer and stopped unhurt.
Stay alert!
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Offline 4Bikes

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Re: Avoiding Deer and other local Critters while riding
« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2019, 12:06:08 am »
Being in PA, this is one of my worst fears. I have ridden in the early mornings and evenings, and looking left and right you can see whole heards of deer in the filelds. What freaks me out is when in the middle of the day a deer just decides to jump out of a corn field and cross the road. No solutions to avoid any of this, other than follow a car or ride in the back of a pack.

I took a 2 day Stay’in Safe course with Eric Trow. His advice for the smaller critters is......if it fits in a skillet, kill it. Meaning don’t do anything drastic to avoid the hit.
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Offline Mcfly

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Re: Avoiding Deer and other local Critters while riding
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2019, 12:55:33 am »
Good post indeed.  We DO share the planet, and sometimes forget about our
furry/feathered friends.

Riding back from Orlando I had a near miss with an Alligator.  Car in front
of us in the left lane swerved pretty hard right into our lane, so we slowed
and started looking, and there it was in the left lane moving right, had to be
about 5-6 ft.  If that car hadn't been there swervin, I might've been a late night snack.   :-\

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Offline smithr1

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Re: Avoiding Deer and other local Critters while riding
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2019, 05:30:50 pm »
In the early 2000s, we had the Nationals in West Virginia.  Statistically the worst state for deer and bear to vehicle collisions.   I remember looking at the stats before the rally and thinking if this is true we should have about 5 riders hit a deer at the rally and 1 hit a bear.   It was right on.  Those were the exact the numbers.

Had at least two members make contact with deer mid day.  If the sun is not out they are more likely in the day.

I know someone (that runs the show here) that has plowed over a few deer and stayed up.  I know another that split one in two with the Connie.  It IS better to stay square and hit like you are going to make it.
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Offline joliver

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Re: Avoiding Deer and other local Critters while riding
« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2019, 01:40:44 am »
I live in Northern Canada and animals on the road can be a major issue.
I had not ridden for 35 years and got a new to me 02 Connie. I was clipping along faster than what was wise and prudent. A deer decides to give me the scare of my life. He popped out of the bush and I was sure I was going to hit him. Thought best be going as slow as possible and I just hammered the brakes. Somehow the deer cleared my path. I let the brakes off and it was the first I was aware I was mostly going sideways. I could smell the smoke off the tires.
Jump ahead a few years and a similar situation but with two major differences. I now have a '15 with ABS and I took Advanced Rider Training. They had us practice stopping quickly for  quite a bit of the course. I stopped so quickly the deer nor I were in any real danger. Love ABS.
Last fall on my last ride of the year, a bear decided he should see if I had really learned anything in that course. I am clipping along and the bear decided to run right in front of me in an arc. I tried going around him but he kept cutting me off. The amount of road left was coming to a rapid conclusion and I thought, "Sorry bear, rather hit you than the cement guards. I was convinced I was going to hit him and put the brakes on as hard as possible. When I stopped the front tire was touching the bear's shoulder but no harm to anyone. In the course I was taught to gear down to first in case stopping is just part of the routine. I was ready to run into the bear if showed he wanted to attack. I revved up the bike and he decided he had best be on his way.


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Offline dcstrng

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Re: Avoiding Deer and other local Critters while riding
« Reply #7 on: June 27, 2019, 04:28:38 pm »
At night (or shortly after sundown or shortly before dawn) be especially watchful for deer surprises when following cars… I don’t know the instinct, but they seem to sense the car, and then try to dart across as the beam of the bike’s headlight illuminates the road behind the car – I try to separate myself from cars so I can hit my flame-throwers, but trashed my Nomad one morning when commuting in a gaggle of cars and was following too closely to have enough light to see the ditches/approaches… deer jumped right in my lap, then ran off an laughed at me…

I don’t worry too much if the deer has their head up and seems to be watching me – the ones that worry me are the ones that have their heads down, grazing and seem oblivious – they can jump any which way when they awake out of their gluttony.  I came across a gazillion point buck one night in the fog, but he had his head up and was just standing on the edge of the road watching me pass (he saw me long before I saw him).

The other thing I watch for is nice flat ditches next to the road or other easy approaches – at least in Virginia, I almost never see deer coming through a difficult, hilly or rocky ditch – it is the nice smooth, flat ones that they seem to just meander across…  The good thing is the flat areas are easier to see into if I’m “awake…”

For my purposes it is all about light – lots of it… I like to be able to see the raccoons and possums in the low trees near the road (yes, really), then the aim and wattage is about right – the problem, of course, is when cars are around and you can’t use all the “off road” wattage…
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Offline Lee

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Re: Avoiding Deer and other local Critters while riding
« Reply #8 on: June 28, 2019, 03:30:52 am »
Do those vehicle attached deer whistles work?

Offline Harry Martin

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Re: Avoiding Deer and other local Critters while riding
« Reply #9 on: June 28, 2019, 03:59:21 am »
Here in Wyoming, it's a lose-lose situation.
There is nothing that will prevent a collision other than slowing down.
I avoid riding early morning and early evenings.
Night time...skunks, racoons, UFOs, and DUI drivers. :(
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Offline MtnRider

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Re: Avoiding Deer and other local Critters while riding
« Reply #10 on: June 28, 2019, 01:43:13 pm »
Do those vehicle attached deer whistles work?

Nope. I used to commute thru an area that had lots of deer. After hitting a couple that decided to play chicken, unsuccessfully, I put the whistle on all our vehicles. Tried multiple brands. When I drove past deer that were grazing along side the road they wouldn't even look up. Don't waste your money.

And it wasn't the ones along the road that were the problem, it was the ones running full speed 90 degrees to the road and jumping out the woods right in front of me that were the problem. Hit 5 in 2 1/2 years, 2 cars & a Nomad. Luckily none were really solid hits, all jumped up & ran away.
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Offline Lee

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Re: Avoiding Deer and other local Critters while riding
« Reply #11 on: June 28, 2019, 04:53:28 pm »
Nice to know about sound devices.

I have hit 5 in 50 years of driving. Never on a bike thank goodness.

Two of them charged head on into the lights at night and turned to a sack of bones instantly when hit at 70 mph plus.

Can not imagine that on a bike!

Hit a giant rabbit in Texas panhandle one night in one of the first 240z in the U.S. It was Japanese spec if I remember. The speed was more than I would ever confess. Rabbit rolled up the hood and over the roof never to be found in a micro second. Absolutely no damage to car save minute blood splatter here and there.

Lucky!

So on a bike, best practice is if collision imminent, stay straight and hit square on????

S#*T!


Offline coffee_brake

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Re: Avoiding Deer and other local Critters while riding
« Reply #12 on: June 28, 2019, 05:22:57 pm »
So...the deer rut inland SC and inland GA. Many, many times I've stopped the bike in the middle of the road because I can see a deer acting nervous on the roadside. Dang things won't move! And neither will I, till they clear out, because I can't see if there are any more deer behind the idiot in view. My strategy for wild critters is to get the speed hauled down as much as I can, stopping if necessary and safe, till they clear out.

I've used the horn, yelled, waved...they still just stand there, UNTIL I rev the engine. Then they high-tail it (literally) out of there! I guess it sounds more like an animal about to attack than the horn or my voice.

Even while still in motion, if a critter is just looking at me or meandering, squeezing the clutch and revving the engine gets the response I need--and it just might make them more afraid of engine sounds, and more likely to stay away from that sound, avoiding senseless death or injury on both sides.
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Offline Bud

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Re: Avoiding Deer and other local Critters while riding
« Reply #13 on: June 28, 2019, 06:05:59 pm »
Got a call a few days ago at 6:30 am from my riding buddy.  He said he needed my help.  Turns out he rode his Wing to work and always takes the back roads to get there.  There was a 90 degree right hand turn that had gravel in much of the road and to top it off a momma deer and 2 young ones were coming across the road.  He chose to turn early and take a detour through the grass.  Lots of dew meant the back end slid and he went down.  No damage to him or the bike until we pulled the bike back on the road.  The bike wasn't squared up with the road, so when the back wheel was coming back on the road, the angle caused the bike to pitch to the left.......and over she went.  Still no big damage, but cracked the instrument bezel just behind the left side of the windshield and broke off the end of the clutch lever.  All in all he came out very well.  We got a little lesson in what not to do getting the bike back on the road though.  I told him if he was gonna off road the Wing, he needed to get some more aggressive tires for that thing! ;D
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Offline MtnRider

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Re: Avoiding Deer and other local Critters while riding
« Reply #14 on: June 28, 2019, 06:20:36 pm »
I was lucky on my deer hit on the bike. A couple of does with a fawn following were running towards the road & I had enough space to slow quite bit. Both does made it across the road before I got there and I just clipped one of the fawns rear legs. It stumbled some but took off. I didn't go down with the light hit but I was much slower the rest of the ride. & checked the drawers for unwanted deposits....
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Offline Strawboss

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Re: Avoiding Deer and other local Critters while riding
« Reply #15 on: July 21, 2019, 01:09:01 pm »
The 3 animals outlined in the original post are nocturnal, to answer your question, don't ride at night. ;D Too simple as they are sometimes out during the day. I try as much as possible to not ride from dusk to dawn. From reading the posts, there are no ways to avoid them as they are random occurances and almost all are resolved by sheer luck on the part of the rider because, if we were able to avoid them, there would be no stories of crashes or near crashes. The coyote population here in Cleveland tries, as does the car driving population, as does the local police sniper teams, but cannot keep the deer population checked.
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Offline Lee

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