Motorist Deer Advisory
Inside the Outdoors, October 22, 2010

It doesn’t hurt to be reminded that this time of the year, deer are everywhere, particularly darting out in front of motorists or even standing in the middle of the road. The Pennsylvania Game Commission advises motorists to slow down after sundown and before sunrise to reduce the risk of having close encounters with these animals.

According the PGC Executive Director Carl G. Roe, “The personal tragedies and property losses that are caused by deer-vehicle collision touch the lives of Pennsylvanians statewide. It is an unfortunate and often painful consequence of living with white-tail deer.”

Throughout the years, many travelers have reported that heavier traveled throughways have carcasses along berms more so than some of the smaller roads. One can only presuppose that speed has a lot to do with these misfortunes, particularly since drivers are anxious to get to their destinations.

Roe noted that being knowledgeable about deer could help Pennsylvanians stay out of harm’s way. He said that some deer aren’t paying close attention to what’s going on around them during the fall breeding season, commonly referred to as the “rut.”

Most hunters or outdoor enthusiasts know that the “rut” deer are on the move more than any other time. It is the time of the year when males seek out the opposite sex for mating.

As Roe puts it, “It’s a time when this summer’s fawns are left alone while does follow nature’s calling – sometimes wander naively into troublesome predicaments. It’s a time, quite frankly, when deer don’t seem to maintain the distance that typically keeps them from dangerously interacting with Pennsylvania motorists.”

And it must be noted that if one animal sticks its body out into the roadway, there is a good chance, there are a group of others right behind it just waiting to follow its path of direction.

Here is where it really gets troublesome. This time of year, bucks are already starting to chase does. Not only that, Roe pointed out, “Other times they pursue with their heads to the ground nosing a scent trail. Also research conducted by the Game Commission and Penn State University indicates many yearling bucks will be traveling more during the fall.”

“After tracking hundreds of radio-collared bucks, we know that half or more of the yearling bucks will be wandering away from the areas where they were born,” said Dr. Christopher Rosenberry, Game Commission Deer and Elk Section Supervisor. “These animals will travel four to five miles on average, but some may travel as far as 40 miles or more. Most of this movement occurs from mid-October through the breeding season in mid-November.”

The PGC advises, “If a deer is struck by a vehicle, but not killed, drivers are urged to stay their distance because some deer may recover and move on. However, if a deer does not move, or poses a public safety risk, drivers are encouraged to report the incident to the Game Commission regional office or other local law enforcement agencies. If the deer must be put down, the Game Commission will direct the proper person to do it.”

On another note, I received a phone call from a gent who calls himself the “Carpmaster of St. Vincent Lake.”

The gent, who related he did want to be identified by his real name, announced that he was hanging up his rod for the year. But the senior citizen was bubbling over with great news in as much as he caught 63 carp out at that lake this year.

“That’s my specialty,” he exclaimed. “I will try for other fish at Keystone State Park Lake, but I love fishing at St. Vincent’s,” he said.

I quizzed him as to what bait works best for carp. He responded, “That’s my secret, but what I use has worked consistently over the years.”

When asked if he kept any of them, he replied, “No, I throw them all back to grow bigger. I just love catching big carp!

Finally, I questioned him on what he contributes his good fortune to which he responded, “My Pee Vee hat you gave me many years ago.”

- Paul J. Volkmann
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