Deer Rut Season During North Bay Wildfires
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.
Deer rut season causes some serious bloodshed caused by animal- car collisions.
Adding to this danger is the thick, near blinding smoke that hovers over the North Bay area of California as a result of the wildfires.
Remember, not only are people attempting to evacuate the danger of the North Bay fires, wildlife are too.
Word to the Wise
Because of the fires in the rural areas of Sonoma, Mendocino and Napa Counties at the same time as the rut season, 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 1.35 million auto-deer collisions occurred in the U.S. between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017. 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
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
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.