The October Story

October 8, 2012

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October kicks off what deer call “motorcycle hunting season.” Drunk on fermented fruit and driven by their insatiable mating urges, white-tailed and mule deer all over North America are compelled by the shortening days to dash back and forth across the nearest stretch of road.

That’s good news for body shops but bad news for you. Only about two percent of car-deer collisions and 1.3 percent of truck-deer collisions result in human injuries. But 75 percent of bikers who hit a deer take an ambulance ride.

October And November

About half of those collisions occur in October and November. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration there were about one million deer collisions last year. Four hundred people died in those collisions and about 10,000 were injured. Half of these accidents occurred in 10 states: Pennsylvania, Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, Georgia, Virginia, Minnesota, Texas, Indiana and South Carolina.

No matter how accomplished a rider you are when the pale deer of death comes for you, you probably won’t react in time. Deer, even the sober ones, don’t care how loud your pipes are or how fast you are going. Deer only react to your proximity. Typically, from late afternoon until early morning the deer you should know about browse near road shoulders. They will see and hear you coming and if the sound of a Harley bothered them at all they would move farther back into the trees. But in a typical deer strike the deer will just stand there.

Deer don’t react until you get within 60 feet of them. At a sedate 65 miles per hour a bike travels about 100 feet every second so if you do have a close encounter with Psycho-Bambi you will usually only have about half a second to react. And, the chances are you will do the wrong thing.

Don’t Swerve

Most bikers habitually push one of their grips hard to try to countersteer around suddenly appearing obstacles. That works fine when a refrigerator falls off the pickup truck in front of you on the freeway. But, it doesn’t work for deer because those animals have evolved to avoid being eaten by wolves not to avoid motor vehicle collisions. In virtually every case deer jump straight ahead and then run in random zig-zags so you can’t avoid them. Speeding up doesn’t help either because that only increases the severity of a collision. The best you can do is slow down in deer country, brake hard the instant you recognize that unusual tree has big ears and don’t swerve.

According to a Cornell University professor of Biological and Environmental Engineering named Lynne Irwin the best place to hit a deer is in the flanks because “rib bones are flexible” and will absorb more of the impact than the hips.

Deer whistles don’t work. The animals don’t react to sounds they can’t identify.

And, finally, as we remind readers every time we do this story, if you hit a deer you get to eat it. Whether you have a hunting license or not, in most states the meat still belongs to you. The meat, the antlers and the skin are all yours.

So be careful, practice braking and if the worst happens enjoy your venison.



62 Responses to “The October Story”

  1. Base Says:

    Ok, here it goes.

    Had been one hell of a week so woke up Saturday a little late and decided to hit the road on the ol ‘l Shovel and see some friends do little bar hopping.

    As day wore on ended up bar hopping until early evening when pulled into a small place called Trader Tom’s Tavern. Being I was already about four sheets into the wind was feeling a tad bit randy spotted this rather stately dressed female at the end of the bar sitting alone sipping a glass.

    I notice she was giving everyone including yours trully the stink eye that walked in. So as mentioned was in a pit of an honery mood or just horny walked up sat down on the stool next to her and ordered two mugs of larger. One for myself and one for her.

    I suspect she was about to protest she didn’t drink beer or something along those lines when I waved my hand in a stop motion asked…..

    “Excuse me, but have you ever seen a crisp $50.00 bill and what are you willing to do for it? As I flashed the afore mentioned fifty in my hand.

    She said nothing instead grabbed the mug o be,,

    Oh dam, my daughter is reading over my shoulder and just handed me my spec ‘s. This thread is about deer not beer, hell folks sorry.

    Watch out for Those suckers also.

    Ya ‘ll ride safe

  2. Snow Says:

    Timely PSA Rebel, just got back from Tn. saw several along I40 above Knoxville, luckily they were just grazing.

  3. 10Guage Says:

    To all

    Those of you travelling Hwy 1 North of Jenner there are cattle ranches up there with no fences. You hit one of those big bastards and its all over. BE CAREFUL they just re did that stretch of Hwy and it is easy to fly through there enjoying the curves. Just rolled through myself. Great article Rebel.

    Strength, Respect, Honor,

  4. Tipi man Says:

    I had attended the funeral of a fallen brother of the motorcycle world out east on Friday and fatal bike wrecks are never a good thing to have on your mind as you ride up the canyon at dusk. I had my sun glasses on and the steep and jagged stone walls cast shadow on both pavement and gravel. Both my beautiful wife and I wore no helmets as I leaned into the first dimly lit turn of the 8 miles of curvy road to home. It would be in this turn that I would fail to see the small pile of gravel that waited to ambush the traction of my front tire.
    I let off the gas and coasted threw the curve, letting my bike drift to the outside and into the lane reserved for oncoming traffic and luckily for us, there was none. Keeping the bike upright and steering it back into control, I twisted the right grip and listened to the V twin echo off of the cliffs that surrounded us. My wife is the ultimate passenger, light and fearless. She loves the danger of speed, and tucks behind me and leans with me as if she wasn’t even there.
    The floor boards of the Harley Davidson where making sparks as they scraped the road in the tight turns and the fun was verified by our extra large smiles. We passed a car or two when it was safe and home was closing in fast. It had been a long weekend and we where hoping to catch up on some sleep. It wasn’t going to happen on this night.
    I made a fast pass on a pick up that as it turns out was being driven by one of my neighbors who is a volunteer fireman and all around good guy, good thing he was on the road at this place, at this time. We sped down the steep asphalt and down shifted into the sharp turn at the bottom of the hill chirping the rear tire and heavy on the breaks. The double yellow line then crisscrossed back and forth beneath my wheels as I used both lanes to navigate the curves alternating in direction known by racers as a “cork screw”. We then passed another pick up truck and began our assent up the slope that peaks out at Moon Ridge.
    A large deer tick by the name of “Chewy” was clutched onto a big buck of a mule deer sucking out its blood to sustain his short life. He is designed by nature to burrow into the hide of this graceful forest creature and rely on it as a home and a life time of meals. Being pretty much nothing more then a stomach with tiny legs attached to it, life was pretty simple for Chewy, but little did he know, he was about to go for the ride of his life. Chewy could feel the rumble of my motor as I raced up the hill doing 60 miles per hour and his host raised his head in alert. This action did not, however, expose his rack of antlers to me because the small tree he was hiding behind was just big enough to keep him concealed until the very last moment.
    The buck sprung into a sprint much like a short distance Olympic runner does from his blocks upon hearing the starter pistol. I could not believe my eyes even though in no way was this a surprise to me. My worst nightmare was less then a second from becoming reality as I hit the breaks out of instinct. If my motorcycle had been a torpedo and this deer a battle ship, the ship would have sunk quickly, dead on hit, right in the middle. I gripped the handle bars with all my strength as they pushed forward and I slid up the gas tank. The animal folded in half as his spine shattered upon impact sending his head into the left side of me and his hind quarters to my right. My better half was holding on tight as she slid forward with me and used me as a sort of air bag. Chewy dislodged from his home and was thrown into the air.
    I had hit the buck so center mass that he did not spin one way or the other and he flew up the road tumbling slightly slower then us. We where still on two wheels and as far a I knew with out injury however we were not out of hot water yet, we had impact number two to deal with. Things were now slowing down, the bike, the deer, and it seemed like time itself as well. My front tire then bounced over the buck as it still skidded down the road right over its mid section, the rear tire did the same.
    The motor was still running, the wheels still spinning and we where both back in our designated saddle positions. The adrenaline was rushing threw my veins and I was more then stoked to have not hit the pavement and this is when I started to feel the pain. I then looked down to my left leg where I knew the deer’s head had slapped into me when it folded around the bikes front end. I was surprised to see that part of an antler was protruding from my thigh just above the knee. It had broken from the rest of the rack and had two points at the end. One of the sharp prongs went through my pants and into my leg, the other was still exposed. The CAT scan results from the emergency room hours later would reveal two things; the antler would have gone deeper if it had not been halted by my femur bone, and I have a case of arthritis in my knee.
    “You have an antler sticking in your leg!” Exclaimed my bride at the exact same time I noticed my new problem brought on by the laws of physics.
    “Pull it out! Pull it out! Pull it out!” I replied, less then calm. She grasped the exposed deer horn with her left hand and pulled, it did not budge at first but then she put a little more muscle into it and it was extracted then discarded to the roadside. As I would learn later from every medical personal I would meet this night, you should never pull out the antler. This action could result in death if an artery is involved and increases the chance of infection to the wound. Now I had to do two things, bring my motorcycle to a stop, and come to terms with the fact that the antler wound was not where my pain was centralized.
    Just up the road a couple hundred feet was volunteer fire station number 131 and this would be where I would bring my crippled bike to a rest. As I guided my ride to a slow stop I notice that the fuel gauge had popped out of the gas tank so I pushed it back into place. I wondered how much damage had been done to steel flesh and bone while I killed the motor by locking up the front break and letting out the clutch. My lower left leg began to throb and wanted no part of putting the beast into neutral. I asked my precious cargo if she was okay and let her know that I may have broken my leg. I was unable to put my kick stand down, so she came to my aid using her hands. I then hop bounced off the seat using my right leg and lowered myself to the cement fire station driveway slowly.
    My firefighter friend and his wife then pulled over to help and before I knew it I was on a stretcher and the paramedics where on their way. The pain was not that bad and I wondered if maybe I had just been bruised deeply, unfortunately I would later find out that my fibula had two minor breaks in it. I then removed my pants so the paramedics would not cut them off when they arrived and I examined my leg puncture. It was a tiny hole, less then half an inch across, and almost bloodless. My neighbor said it may be a bad thing that it was not bleeding but not to stress off of it. My wife then called her father who agreed to drive up the canyon and give us a ride to the hospital and with the ambulance already on the way; we came up with a plan.
    The paramedics pulled up and the next thing I knew I was surrounded by way too many people with way too much medical equipment. I laughed and cracked jokes with them as they did their jobs and talked about butchering the dear for food. The dear would be removed from the road by a wild game eating hillbilly paramedic before I would leave the seen. When asked for my pain level on a scale from one to ten I told them, “About a three…that’s a five for a normal man.”
    About this time my wife asked me a question, “What is that on your eyebrow?” She reached down and pulled something from my eyebrow hair that also seemed to be stuck to my skin. It was a refugee by the name of Chewy.

  5. stroker Says:

    Good story Tipi Man

  6. Goldsboro Williams Says:

    Rebel – Thanks for the safety reminder.
    Shyster – Once in a while I read something on here that makes beer come out of my nose. Thanks man.

  7. swampy Says:

    As of yesterday at 7:50 a.m.(cst) there is one less deer for riders to worry about – lol! .243 Win. 100 grn. Winchester Power Point at 126 yrds. Bitch dropped flat in the dirt:)

  8. Grumbler Says:

    Wolves are a helluva lot smarter than deer, but no form of wildlife is immune from being hit by a motorcycle.

    Motorcyclist dies after crashing into wolf
    June 14, 2011 11:18 am • By Tribune staff

    A Black River Falls man was killed Monday when his motorcycle apparently struck a wolf in rural Jackson County.

    A passerby discovered Dale N. Hart, 51, in a ditch near his motorcycle shortly after 1 p.m. on County Hwy C in the town of Albion, according to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department.

    Evidence showed Hart was descending a hill when he tried to stop quickly. His bike hit the wolf and went into a skid, ejecting him, according to the sheriff’s department.

    Hart, who was not wearing a helmet, was airlifted to Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center where he was pronounced dead, according to the sheriff’s department.

    The dead wolf was turned over the Department of Natural Resources.


  9. Jenkx Says:

    Bull ! Shit!!

    LOOKEBA, Okla. (AP) — Authorities say a 20-year-old Oklahoma man is in critical condition after his motorcycle struck a black bull that was standing on a rural roadway.

    The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says the collision happened Tuesday night in rural Caddo County.

    A preliminary report says Michael Schimmel of Lookeba was driving his 2005 Honda Rebel motorcycle when he collided with a black bull that was standing in the road. Authorities say Schimmel was thrown about 75 feet from his motorcycle after the collision.

    Authorities say Schimmel was taken to OU Medical Center with head and internal injuries. He is listed in critical condition.

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