Motorcycle Hunting Season

October 5, 2009

All Posts, News

It is that time again. Deer call this motorcycle season.

About three weeks earlier than last year, young and middle-aged male deer have begun to flock to the fermented berry patches. They are all eager to hook up. None of them wants to be the sad, old buck still standing there all alone at closing time. And, the drunker they get the stupider they get. Just like you. So as soon as a motorcycle putts into view it is inevitable that one of those bucks will shout, “Hey Bambi! Watch this!”

There have been at least five motorcycle-deer collisions in the last five days.

The Bad News

Victoria M. Clark, 51, wound up in the Salina Regional Health Center after a deer dashed from the side of Interstate Highway 135 in Kansas and ran into the motorcycle she was riding last week. Clark was in the back seat. The rider, 35-year-old Tad Clark, was not hurt.

Robert Dane Owen, 40, was riding eastbound on U.S. 60 in Oklahoma when a deer ran into his 2003 Harley. Owen flew 37 feet through the air after he lost control of his bike and is listed in stable condition with head, trunk and arm injuries.

The least amusing deer collision of the last few days was in South Carolina. Jerry Robert Briggs, 52, was riding north on State Highway 702 when a deer ran into him and knocked him off the road. Briggs was thrown from his bike and died.

The same thing happened to Jared Andreasen, 21, of Quincy, Illinois. He was riding his bike on U.S. 61 near Palmyra, Missouri last week when a deer ran into him. Andreason also ran off the road and left his bike but he survived with minor injuries.

And, a 46-year-old oil field salesman from Alice, Texas named Shawn Ritchie was riding his 2006 Road King on Interstate 90 near Greycliff, Montana last week when he had his own close encounter of the Cervidae kind. Ritchie was going about 75 and he suffered a broken left shoulder, broken ribs, a lacerated spleen and a bruised kidney. The collision also totaled his motorcycle and cut the deer in half.

Just parenthetically, Ritchie was not wearing a helmet and he did suffer a slight head injury. He got a scrape on the back of his head when his riding companion, Justin Buckminster, dragged him out of traffic by his legs.

A Few Statistics

The State Farm Insurance Company disseminates a press release about the deer menace every year. According to this year’s release, the frequency of deer-motor vehicle collisions has jumped 18 percent in the last five years. On average, a motor vehicle hits a deer every 26 seconds but most of those collisions occur during the months of October, November and December.

And, you are most likely to collide with a deer in, in order of likelihood, West Virginia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Iowa and Montana. Your odds of hitting a deer in West Virginia are 1 in 39. Your chances of hitting one in Hawaii are 1 in 9,931. About 150 people die in deer collisions in the United States every year.

A Few Reminders

When you see a deer the last thing you want to do is counter steer because when you move the deer moves. And riding across the road increases your chances of hitting a tree, a ditch or a fence even if you miss the deer. So whatever you do, don’t counter steer. Try to brake to a stop, but if you have to hit the deer hit the deer as squarely as possible.

Deer whistles do not work.

And if you kill the 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, the whole damn thing, is all yours.

So be careful and enjoy your barbeque.

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19 Responses to “Motorcycle Hunting Season”

  1. Polprav Says:

    Hello from Russia!
    Can I quote a post “No teme” in your blog with the link to you?

  2. sled tramp Says:

    I was re reading the main story here and something caught my eye regarding deer sirens. These are those horn looking things that some people put on their vehicles,including bikes.
    The jury’s out on the efficency of these things, some believe they work,some dismiss ’em.I don’t know myself but I DO know I’ve had them on all my vehicles except for my bike for about five years and,I’ve never had a collision whereas my neighbors who don’t use them all have.I’ve seen deer along the road shake their head and bolt back up the bank so as far as I know,they might work.I put a set on my sled just in case.Hell, ANYTHING that may save me from another wreck is worth a try even if it just gives me a split second of indecision on the deer’s part to let me by.We have elk crossings all over this area as well as deer. I don’t know if they work on elk but it would make sense.I’m mentioning this because if you live in Bambi country like me, you really want the deck in your favor.I work in a very high risk business and preparing for the worst case scenario is a matter of course.I don’t mind dying, I just don’t want to die stupid.

  3. sled tramp Says:

    Sorry, I’m bored…fergot last winter. I was heading up 20 miles to the next town to return a movie.Nice day,45 or so,clear,any excuse to ride…I was humming along when the car in front started swerving.”Whadda f…”
    Then I hit the black ice.
    Some idiot contruction crew had hosed down the dust along the shady side of the highway.No exits for fifteen miles,mountain curves etc..
    Like you, I went realllll slow…..
    I reallllly needed to change my shorts after that.
    I’m not sure where I read this in here somewhere’s but there was mention of -I think-the old Phase Three belt drive? That was largely developed by a guy I knew (and respected the shit out of) Dick Allen.I loved his springers but those belt drives when open scared the shit out of me.I see a lot of young guys in media have ’em.My sympathies.Getting your leg snarled up ain’t no joke.
    I’ve ridden most every kind of bar,I love my apes and have 18″ on my sled. I listened and learned everything the guys that “Raised” my young ass up taught me.One thing that they had bad thoughts on were bad welds.I realize “T-bars” are currently popular and I see a lot of “Z” bars and apes.I alo know the modern versions are well made and places like West Coast T Bars do quality stuff.My son has a set on his ride.
    But anytime I had to rely on someone else’s welds back then, it freaked me.We were on a run and pulled off for gas when one of my brothers started cursing a blue streak.His T bars were cracked at the riser and bar at the weld.Swap meet bars.If we hadn’t been stopped….We were about to hit HWY 17 in Santa Cruz and that woulda hurt.These things stay with you over the years.If you learned right, ya never forget.I think most older guys have got a story of jury rigging a bike to get to a party or a run.Modern HD’s just get on and ride which while nice, is kinda boring.Nowadays “Working on my bike” means bolting on chrome billet shit.Ever go to too fast on your putt with the wiring,show up at the party and everyone races towards ya pulling beer tabs,then keep running PAST you? Turn around to see your sled catching fire?
    Miss them days…..

  4. sled tramp Says:

    “Yahoos wearing chaps and leather bandanas to the bar”. Add some ferns and a disco ball and ya have you’re average cop bar…..
    I’m afraid your suggestion,while brillant I might say, may be counter productive.The reason I STARTED riding was listening to long time older guys from the 40’s ,50’s and 60’s filling my young gills with stories of life,cops and the road.My first sled….A buddy of mine much older took me to a guy’s house who’d been boot stomped by a local club and told to lose his ride or else.So, I paid the man-I was 17 and this was,in fact,the biggest day of my life.I got on the bike,sloooowly let out the clutch and twisted the throttle.
    I proceeded to do a 50 foot wheelie into the side of a parked truck across the street.Crawled out,jumped up and “YEAH!!!!” wanted to do it again.(I’ve never been really “right”).The only time I’ve been even near your blizzard situation was getting basically shot off my bike in a Texas hail storm.I’d figured it was better to keep riding,there had been some misunderstanding regarding a Texas girl’s intentions toward my young self and for some reason her boyfriend had taken offense,actually, he and his apparently large group of buddies had taken offense. Anyway, got into the hailstorm and ended up damn near with a fractured skull.
    I have a buddy up here that lost his leg at the hip logging.Last winter he was headed to work when the bike in front of him slid out and went into a snow bank.So my amigo decided to go to the local dealer and get ice and snow tires like they race with back east (?!). They started laughing at him -not good- and he stormed out.Tried all winter to put screws in his tires etc.If ya have heart……..

  5. YYZ Skinhead Says:


    Which subspecies of wild pigs: The kind with four hooves and six-inch tusks, or that other subspecies–the bipedal one?

    YYZ Skinhead

  6. Bear Says:

    Rebel… I just had a brillant idea. Those of us with a few decades of saddle time should get qualified to teach those state motorcycle safety courses, but instead of teaching the course we could just fill the RUBS head with stories of our encounters with wildlife, weather and the helpful men and women of “law enforcement”. There’d be far fewer yahoos wearing chaps and leather bandanas to the bar in July.

  7. Bear Says:

    Sled Tramp… you must have really pissed off some minor deity along the way. Not one powerful enough to kill ya, just give you a good sphincter check every so often! I’m not sure if it’d be safe to ride with you or not… on one hand any bad shit that comes along seems to fall at your feet, but on the other hand maybe the afore mentioned deity would deem me guilty by association (like some others who view themselves as minor gods) and I’d find myself slidin’ down the road next to you?!
    The scariest ride I ever had was only 37 miles long. I got caught in a freak blizzard in Michigan… complete white out! I rode 37 miles at about 15-20 miles an hour trying desperately to keep my tires in the only open track on the road which was being made by the duals of the semi trailer ahead of me. I knew if I stopped I’d be f**ked so my only option was to keep moving forward. I made it to where I was going, but I don’t think I had a BM for about 3 days… my ass was clenched up too tight!

  8. Rebel Says:

    Dear Sled Tramp,

    Geez man! Keep your old lady away from the guns! Little hands, little bodies. Whatever you do, don’t ever hand her a 12 gauge pump. No telling where the second or third shots are going to go.

    your pal,

  9. Rebel Says:

    Dear Bear,

    Oh yeah. Your body wants to live no matter what your brain thinks. Close one. Glad you made it.

    And, yeah. It is turkey season. And pheasants. And don’t forget the goddamn wild pigs. Be careful at night man. At least until the end of November. And try not freeze.

    your pal,

  10. sled tramp Says:

    Dear Bear,
    I too ride about 40 miles along back roads to work (?!!?) so I appreciate your situation.My ultimate nightmare-other than wife number one showing up-is to round a curve and T-bone an elk (see above) or worse, one of your brother bears.Since as you know, most rural areas have minimal to zero cell phone reception, it ain’t a good thought.We have the highest density of wild turkey in North America (or so I’ve been told) here.I’ve counter steered a number of times around a potential dinner.Since they tend to move in flocks, and “short fly” in weird patterns, your guess is as good as mine where they’re going to end up.You got reeeeeaaallll lucky in that deer herd.Getting hit in the head by a 22 pound turkey’s no joke I would imagine.
    As regards my old lady……
    Three years ago,why’s shit always happen to ME fer gawds sake….she and I were shooting behind the house when she fired a solid 125gr .357.I saw the tree branch to my left fall and I got knocked back about three feet.I looked down and there,between my boots, was a smoking slug.It had richocheted off something-we looked but never figured what-and hit me dead center at the sternum.It must have lost just enough speed to hit without killing me.My left arm was completely numb and there was a hellava bruise on my sternum starting.
    Naturally, I milked the SHIT outa this.For six weeks it’d go, “Could you throw the dishes in the dishwasher?”,”Honey, you SHOT me…”
    After six weeks…”Baby,I’ll shoot your sorry ass AGAIN if you don’t help out around here”…
    I shoulda gotten suspicious when she kept saying,”No babe, a little to the left,noooo…more…OK, don’t move”.

  11. Bear Says:

    I work nights so I travel 43 miles of mostly rural, mostly unlite secondary road to get home between 2-3am. I’ve gotten used to seeing alot of little glowing dots next to the road (a conservation agent told me the animals come next to the road at night because the blacktop holds heat). I was riding home about two weeks ago when I came around a curve and saw about eight deer crossing the road. There was no time to brake, but there was a gap between two of them. It amazes me how fast our brains can work if we just get out of its way; time seemed to slow down and my brain said accelerate. I did as requested and popped right through that gap close enough that when I looked to my left I looked directly into the eye of one of them. That was as close as I ever want to get. I also had a wild turkey fly in front of me one night; crossed about a foot in front of my face. Those things are really big when you get that close! The only animal I’ve ever collided with while riding was a black bird; it got me in the right shoulder and to this day I don’t know how I stayed on the bike. I had a massive bruise for weeks.

    Sled tramp: Glad to know you survived your encounters; you must be one tough SOB. By the way, how’s your relationship with your old lady? Maybe she’s puttin some doe pheromone on you jacket! :)

  12. sled tramp Says:

    YY Skinhead,
    Actually..(and thanks) the very LAST thing I think I’d like to do is look through a scope and see a deer head magnified x6-10 in reticles….talk about savage flashbacks…..

  13. YYZ Skinhead Says:

    sled tramp,

    Thank God you survived. My dad said the two worst things you can hit driving a cage are deer and humans. It’s a miracle that a guy on two wheels could come out of that alive. I am sorry you had to endure that pain and the permanent injuries. You are one tough SOB. The best thing to do is to go out during deer season and blast as many bucks as your license will permit.


    It’s unfortunate that there’s no license for hunting SUV drivers.

    YYZ Skinhead

  14. sled tramp Says:

    Yeah, no question I was lucky.I gotta admit every fall I get a tad nervous and when I see movement along the side of a road-even if it’s just litter-I lose ten pounds right then and there.
    That’s amazing regarding Jeff McGeary.Between the above false leg episode and your story…..
    I was lucky.I wish the others had been too.

  15. Grumbler Says:

    sled tramp – man, I feel your pain. Watched a friend t-bone an elk about 4-years-ago while we were riding north on ID-21 towards Idaho City. Superficial injuries to him, $3K worth of damage on bike, and the elk split. There’s moose xings on US-12 west of Lolo, MT.

    12 years ago this month, Indian Jeff McGeary collided with a free range bull by Wisdom, MT on his vintage Indian. He then lay unconscious in subfreezing weather for 10 hours before being found, covered in frost with a body temperature of 80 degrees. Miraculously, McGeary survived, but is paralyzed from the chest down. He lives in Sheridan, MT.

  16. sled tramp Says:

    I appreciate your comments,it’s been a long road.
    A couple of things I left out….
    Because we’re extremely rural, the EMT’s weren’t licensed to give me pain killers.Nor could they air splint me so I rode the hour up to a hospital watching my leg make a U-turn into the fourth dimension.As I’d had my one and only case of heat stroke on a job site a couple of days before the wreck, they couldn’t find my veins for a saline IV and I got stuck 22 times while they tried to find it.
    The nurses left the table of painkillers next to the gurney at the hospital.The guy that came to reverse/rotate and set my leg saw the meds and assumed I’d been dosed.So, he set it.
    I hadn’t been dosed.
    I didn’t yell but I sure did huff and puff a lot.
    My oldest son upon hearing of my wreck, jumped in his jeep and went down to the highway.Grabbing an axe-he was really pissed off-he started hacking at the deer’s head.Standing in the middle of the highway,all 6’4″ of him,looking as he does like a poster child for the Ayran Nation swinging an axe…well, it didn’t help traffic much.
    A few days later when I returned home, I was assaulted by a bajillion flies.I finally called my kid up and asked him, “Where’d ya put that deer head?”
    “Oh, I put it in your boat”…..

  17. DirtyBruin Says:

    sled tramp: I’m a science fiction geek, I’ll freely admit it. I say that to partly explain why I want technology to download images from the human brain. Just imagine if we could download the video from your mind of that asshole SUV driver – and use it to get his/her license revoked for being an idiot.

    I’ve never had a deer encounter myself – but a buddy of mine has. He’s already a below-the-left-knee amputee from a close encounter with an idiot in an SUV (seeing a pattern here?) some years ago. He hit a deer while out for a day ride during a camping trip a bunch of friends and I go on every year. Fortunately no really serious new injuries – road rash, a broken finger – but he lost his prosthesis in the crash, and the emergency folks thought his leg had been torn completely off…! He manages to laugh about that, somehow.

    I went to Sturgis in ’06 with friends, and one guy in our group reminded everyone about the deer problem (we were camped up near Deadwood). No one in our group had a deer encounter – but we did hear about other people having them, unfortunately.

    Here’s hoping you never see one again – except through the scope on your rifle during deer season. ;-{)###>

  18. Rebel Says:

    Dear Sled Dog,

    Okay. You win. That is better than any motorcycle accident story I have. I believe that might be the best motorcycle crash story I have heard all year.

    your pal,

  19. sled tramp Says:

    Of all the subject matter…..
    Two years ago last Labor Day,I was struck by a deer at 65mph.After I slammed the deer,stunned and disoriented, I rode into oncoming traffic.Only thing I remember is some idiot in an SUV taking his hands off the wheel and covering his eyes.I rode it out but couldn’t figure why I couldn’t shift.Looking down, I saw my left leg was 180 degrees reversed from the knee down.”Well, THAT’S not good….”.I rode about a half mile before I laid it down.In front of a bar no less.Naturally, it fell to the left on my broken leg.Forgetting it had EFI (2007 Street Bob), and having had a sled blow up on me while I was pinned under it once, I kicked it off and crawled off to call home.The cops showed up, thought it hilarious that my deer tag was under my CDL…5 days in the hospital,four surgerys and two years later, I still have a brace and cane.BTW,If you really want to have fun with the citizens, run I-5 at 85 with a walking boot on and crutches strapped to your sissy bar.
    About a week ago, I was riding between our town and the next one when coming around an “S” curve, there,right in the middle of the fuckin’ road, was Bambi.
    Now, I hate deer.I really,really (REALLY) do.
    So I flat tracked sideways,came to a halt and proceeded to curse the living shit outa that deer.The deer wandered off but hell, I wasn’t done yet.
    Then a couple in a truck came around the corner and it dawned on me that a) they couldn’t see the deer and b) what they DID see was this burley ass biker waving his arms and screaming at the friggin’ woods…
    Did I mention I HATE deer?

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