Time to Start Dodging Deer in SWOK [GRAPHIC VIDEO]
The news may say "deer-vehicle collisions are on the decline," but that's not entirely truthful. Yes, last year saw fewer wildlife creatures on the side of the road, but suggesting these crashes are on the decline seems a little short-sighted and irresponsible.
Let me explain.
The reason last years collision numbers were so low due to the lack of wildlife in our state. There simply wasn't as many animals out there to hit. And I understand, that may sound stupid, but it's true. You see, we've been in a pretty desperate drought for the better part of a decade. 2013 was a banner year for mother nature taking back the life it holds.
You see, when you mix a summer full of 100+ days over 100 degrees with a severe lack of rain and moisture, wildlife diminishes greatly. Life simply can't flourish in those conditions, and a lot of our wildlife has died off during this drought.
2011, 2012, and 2013 all set records in the weather data. Extremely hot and dry conditions, especially in SWOK, are purely responsible for our new low average of hitting deer out on the road.
Any hunter can tell you, 2011 was a challenge to hunt. Warm days kept deer bedded down until nearly sunset. 2012 was the same way. 2013 was a banner year for weather effects on wildlife. I spent 15 twelve-hour days in a deer blind and saw two total deer. One mange looking half racked buck, and a very small yearling doe.
In 2010, our last 'wet year,' that same spot yielded a nightly herd of around 40 does, and a handful of quality bucks. 2011 saw those numbers cut in half. 2012 brought in fewer. And 2013 brought in those two. I honestly wasn't even planning on hunting this year... until I downloaded my game-cam pics.
It looks like our wet summer has done some good for the wildlife populations in our region. Not enough yet, but it's a good start for mother nature to rebuild on. But along with that, you can bet this decline in deer-vehicle collisions will tic right back up there.
With that deer season starting up again this year, you can bet deductibles will hit a fever pitch.
Watch out for the wildlife.