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If you had to ride at night thru deer country, what is the safest way to proceed, based on your experience. Speed is an obvious factor but I was wondering, especially on lightly traveled roads whether you would feel more comfortable staying separated from traffic moving the same direction or staying close enough to traffic that they act as a "shield" or front door"?
 

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If you had to ride at night thru deer country, what is the safest way to proceed, based on your experience. Speed is an obvious factor but I was wondering, especially on lightly traveled roads whether you would feel more comfortable staying separated from traffic moving the same direction or staying close enough to traffic that they act as a "shield" or front door"?
I have seen deer run between riders that were riding pretty close, in broad daylight even. I'm sure the same could occur after dark. So, I wouldn't depend on being close to traffic and thinking I was "shielded" in any manner. Can't be too cautious in deer country ESPECIALLY this time of year.
 

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Methhead
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I ride not thinking about it. If I rode in fear of smacking a deer all the time, I'd be so tense. It wouldn't be enjoyable. Also, if I'm tense, I seem to react slower.

Other than that, just ride whatever speed you deem appropriate. I typically do 60 on every 2 lane.

Although, if I'm on a deer heavy road, I don't use my highway pegs. I keep my hands and feet close to the controls. I stay semi-relaxed.


Edit: This post is coming from a guy who rides through deer country every time I fire up my bike. Doesn't matter what direction I go, deer everywhere.
 

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Mississippi Cajun
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Deer move more in the evening so are definitely a danger riding at night through the woods. They can jump up right next to you, and before you know it, they're doing their version of the escape the wolf dance right in front of you, and you may end up having one trying to become your passenger. While you're worrying about the deer, be advised that you have the smaller critters such as possum, armadillo, coons, etc. trying to share the road with you (I managed to T-bone a possum one evening and it launched my '04 Ultra and me....made a safe landing, but it cured me of riding back roads at night). Basically, just my opinion for what little that is worth, the only definite thing I can tell you about riding at night and deer encounters is that there is nothing definite I can tell you (nor can most people) about riding at night and deer encounters.
 
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"Ain't quite right"™
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I wouldn't ride closely behind someone else, they're sure to stand on their brakes as soon as they see the deer...

Also, I've known 2 dudes that got t-boned BY the deer.

Best bet, keep your eyes open, especially on wooded roadsways.
 

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Señor Member
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In the 90's I came close enough to a deer for her to spin my left mirror around with her noggin.

When my spidey senses are tingling I slow down and cover the rear (I always cover the front and clutch).

Stay safe.
 
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Similar to Andy, I live in the country and deer are everywhere. I had 3 young buck deer feeding in my back yard this morning. And I mean, 25 yards from the back door.

Deer are totally unpredictable. But if you see a doe cross, MANY times she will have young following her (yearlings or fawns) and they will be hell bent for leather to keep up with mom. I really favor the center line where I hopefully increase the time I have to react to deer coming from my right side.

About 10 years ago, at approx 1AM I was riding home from work. I was about the equivalent of 4 blocks from home (we ain't got "blocks" where I live) and rounded a curve. Due to the familiarity I had with this road I was going about twice the speed limit, tired, just wantin' to get home and go to bed. There were at least 3 deer STANDING IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD! All I had time to do was clinch the tank with my knees and lock up the brakes front and rear. Ain't real sure to this day how I negotiated the rest of the curve, but I was aiming Right At the deer. They were gone. Kind of like NASCAR drivers aiming at the wreck occuring in front of them.

Point is, do NOT get yourself into a situation where you are trying to dodge deer. At least not whitetail deer. That is the most unpredictable animal to ever inhabit the North American continent. From that day on, when in rural areas frequented by deer, I keep on finger covering front brake, hands and feet at the controls at ALL times.
 

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I live in a very deer infested area and have no choice. Riding home from the late shift in 07, a big buck got me. I slowed, he moved, I moved, he struck me. I rolled up in a ball and beside the road until a road sign stopped me, breaking my leg. While I'm rolling, my bike is still rolling with forward controls holding it up. Cut that summer short (it was August) and am now equipped with a piece of steel and other hardware in my leg.

I have had the worst luck with deer. I've been t-boned on the bike, while driving the wife's car, my mother's car. Have hit several in my truck, but no damage to that big old thing. Everyone in our community has a deer story or stories to tell. I know 2 ladies where the deer kicked in their back quarter panels.

I ride much much less at night now.

FWIW, a coworker of my wife had a wild boar ram her vehicle on her way to work last week, same route my wife takes.

I can give no advice other than slow down, where there is one, there will be more. Wild turkeys are a pain, but somehow they communicate with deer, so where you see wild turkey, deer are probably nearby.

Stay safe to all.
 

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Done
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Deer every morning on the way to work. Lately been a lot of coon too. I ride the center line at night to give myself more correction area on the right. Gotta keep the eyes peeled and just be prepared.
 

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Deer are as dumb as rocks. I have been at a dead stop in my red Dodge pickup truck, waiting on deer to finish crossing the road and then out of the blue one of them ran smack into the side of the truck. Best advice I can give is ride slow, spend the money on a headlight upgrades (I am looking at getting the daymakers for my old softail), and ride closer to the center line of the road to leave yourself the widest possible field of visibility and a little extra room for reacting.
 

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In my Ford Ranger, t-boned by a buck one late night just north of Oconomoc, WI. Just slammed into the right door. All I saw was hooves and antlers. Truck became extremely difficult drive! Not damage by the deer though. The 90# Lab who had been snoozing on the seat next to me was now sitting in my lap! Scared the crap outta him! And that was my 3rd encounter with deer, the other two on bikes. One I made out OK, the other had multiple consequences. Was due to be discharged from the USAF that month, broke my ankle, extended in service for convenience of govm't. Bummer.
 

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Breaker of Things
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I ride with a 30/30 saddle rifle this time of year......

Keeps me safe and the freezer is full. And the antlers look great on my bike!!!

Jk- I agree with Andy, if you ride all tense your gonna jack up your reaction times! Slow and safe, always give cagers distance because they will slam on the brakes!!!
 

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Keep on Ridin’
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You will better your chances of " not " seeing deer if you ride in full camo with a loaded rifle, hunting license, and deer piss on you.
:rofl:

--
 

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Rider
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Deer are most active at dawn and dusk. But as harvest season gets on its way, those farm machines flush them out of the fields and spook the hell out of them. At least in the dark you can see eye balls glow or see them dash in front of oncoming headlights.

A lot of highways here in Indiana have railroads that run along side them. The trains will also spook them into running out into traffic.

September is bow hunting season here. Later comes rifle season and that will be spooking them into dashing into traffic. November is rut season and the males get even more stupid because they are fighting of the females.

When I hit mine last year, it was September, they just started cutting a corn in a field where they deer came from. The one I tangled with came from my left. He jumped between 2 semis in the east bound lanes so I didn't see him when he cleared them and shot into the median. I was looking right and then when I turned to look left the little bastard was hopping out of the median right in front of me. I was doing 65 and he was too..BAM! I didn't see them but 2 more ran across behind me. There is never just 1 deer.

In the mornings I watch all the sides of the road both my lanes and the ones on the left. I don't listen to the radio at all. I force all my attention on watching the sides of the road.

Ride safe, ride sober my friends
 

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Hit it she goes boom
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@ Da Mack.. thanks for the pics on that hit last year, I've had my helmet for a year now, won't ride with out it.. thanks bro!

Riding in deer country at night, stay alert, scan that road for those damn green eyes, you see those, get on the brakes...
 

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Also, always remember this, when you see a deer on the side of the road (or in the road) there are more that you haven't seen yet. There are always more. Don't be fooled when you see a deer cross half a mile ahead of you because it's already across, start slowing down now because three more of the buggers are about to follow across.
 

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Also, always remember this, when you see a deer on the side of the road (or in the road) there are more that you haven't seen yet. There are always more. Don't be fooled when you see a deer cross half a mile ahead of you because it's already across, start slowing down now because three more of the buggers are about to follow across.

This.

Plus, they wander. They don't know what roads are. They aren't waiting to cross the road in a straight line. They may double back, travel lateral to the road. They do whatever the eff they want, right up to the point when they kill themselves and you.
 

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This.

Plus, they wander. They don't know what roads are. They aren't waiting to cross the road in a straight line. They may double back, travel lateral to the road. They do whatever the eff they want, right up to the point when they kill themselves and you.
Can't remember where it came from or how long ago, but I remember something about some lady raising hell with some highway dept. She wanted the DEER CROSSING signs moved to a different location so the deer would cross in a new location and wouldn't be crossing in what was apparently not a good place for them to cross.
 

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Can't remember where it came from or how long ago, but I remember something about some lady raising hell with some highway dept. She wanted the DEER CROSSING signs moved to a different location so the deer would cross in a new location and wouldn't be crossing in what was apparently not a good place for them to cross.

So good.

Check out this video on YouTube:

 
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