Deer Rut Season
Deer rut season (the mating period for deer) is now in full swing causing lustful bucks to chase skittish does at every chance available. They have only one thing on their minds- and it isn’t looking both ways before they cross the streets and wooded highways.
Word to the Wise
For those of you that are new to The Sea Ranch, this means that the doe will be running away from the bucks without any sense as to where they are going. Unfortunately, Deer rut season often causes some serious bloodshed caused by animal-car collisions.
For that reason, we want to caution all of you driving to be ever watchful, scanning not only the road ahead but also from side to side while driving. This is especially important when driving Highway One to Sea Ranch, or even the roads throughout The Sea Ranch.
According to California Highway Patrol Captain, Adam Jager, “The best way to avoid this type of collision is to always maintain a safe speed and stay vigilant of deer that may have entered the roadway. Driving distracted or under the influence greatly increases your chances of being involved in a car versus deer collision.”
What the Data Show
Statistics published by State Farm Insurance show the odds are not in the favor of drivers. In fact, State Farm® estimates that October, November, and December. U.S. drivers on average have a 1 in 116 chance of a collision with an animal. In fact, there were over 1.9 million animal collision insurance claims in the U.S. between July 1, 2019, and June 30, 2020. These crashes were costly for drivers, with a national cost per claim average of $4,179. That likelihood in California more than doubles during October, November, and December, when deer collisions are most prevalent during deer rut season.
Deer and Driver Collisions in Sea Ranch
Sadly, drivers have frequently reported evidence of gruesome collisions all along the roads in The Sea Ranch. Drivers need extra diligence in watching for deer distracted in areas known to have high deer populations. The Sea Ranch Chapel meadows through the length of The Sea Ranch Golf Links makes up one of the most ominous stretches of road in The Sea Ranch.
Other areas to be vigilant of are where roads that divide agricultural fields or streams from forestland. They are particularly dangerous. Be especially watchful during the mid-fall movement periods when deer seek new food sources and shelter as crops are harvested and leaves fall from trees and shrubs.
Tips to Avoiding Deer Collisions
We have gathered a few tips to make sure you stay safe when on the roads during deer rut season.
Stay alert. Pay attention to “deer crossing” and other signs and be cautious in areas near woods or water.
Use high beams. Flicking your high beams on a deer in the road may cause the animal to scurry away. High beams also help illuminate dark roads.
Don’t veer for the deer! If an animal-car crash is inevitable, maintain control of your vehicle. If a deer is in the driver’s lane, brake firmly but stay in the lane, the most serious of crashes occur when drivers swerve. Don’t swerve or veer off the road.
Brake as necessary. If you can avoid hitting the animal, reduce your speed, honk your horn and tap your brakes to warn other drivers. If there are no drivers behind you, brake hard.
Remember peak season. Deer crashes happen most during October through December, which is hunting and mating season. Collisions are most likely to happen in West Virginia, Montana, Pennsylvania, and South Dakota. However, Hawaii (1-in-649), Nevada (1-in-551), and California (1-in-427) are the states where drivers have the least chance of an animal collision. But given our rural and forested location along the Sonoma Coast, those odds increase greatly!
Remember meal time. Watch for animals in the road between dusk and dawn.
Watch for herds. If you see one deer, there are probably more nearby.
Don’t rely on a whistle. No scientific evidence supports that car-mounted deer whistles work.
Wear seat belts. Always obey speed limits and wear seat belts.
Finally, if a deer is hit and is blocking the highway, call 9-1-1.
And Don’t Forget These Deer Facts:
- They are on all roads
- Deer are unpredictable
- They often move in groups
- Movement of deer is most prevalent in the fall
- The hours between dusk and dawn are high-risk times.
What to do When You Collide with a Deer
So if an auto-deer collision occurs State Farm offers these six steps to take:
- Move your vehicle to a safe place. If possible, pull over to the side of the road, and turn on your hazard lights. If you must leave your vehicle, stay off the road and out of the way of any oncoming vehicles. Deer are most active at dusk and dawn—times when you or your vehicle may be less visible to other motorists.
- Call the police. Alert authorities if the deer is blocking traffic and creating a threat for other drivers. If the collision results in injury or property damage, you may need to fill out an official report. This report also can prove useful when filing your insurance claim.
- Document the incident. If it’s safe to do so, take photographs of the roadway, your surroundings, damage to your vehicle, and any injuries you or your passengers sustained. If witnesses stop, take down their account of what occurred, and ask for their contact information.
- Stay away from the animal. A frightened, wounded deer could use its powerful legs and sharp hooves to harm you.
- Contact your insurance agent. The sooner you report damage or injuries, the sooner your agent can file and process your claim.
- Don’t assume your vehicle is safe to drive. Double-check that your car is drivable after colliding with a deer. Look for leaking fluid, loose parts, tire damage, broken lights, a hood that won’t latch, and other safety hazards. If your vehicle seems unsafe in any way, call for a tow.