Deer mating season brings more highway collisions | SierraSun.com

Deer mating season brings more highway collisions

Dave Moller
Sun news service

When it comes to hitting a deer on a highway, not even the CHP is immune.

A single Highway Patrol car hit two different deer on the same day last Friday. A third wreck between a deer and a motorcycle occurred that same night.

The accidents serve to remind motorists that October and November are months when most such accidents happen, because the deer are mating and moving actively.

“We get in accidents like everybody else,” said CHP Officer Dina Hernandez. “This time of the year, it’s the rutting season, and they’re everywhere.”

Hernandez added, “I almost hit one this morning on my way to work.”

In the first deer mishap, Officer Rich Nickell was southbound on Highway 49 near Pingree Road at 4:58 a.m. Friday when a deer ran into the right side of his Chevrolet Tahoe SUV, Hernandez said. The vehicle was still operable and Nickell was not injured, but the deer perished.

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Later at 10:15 p.m., Officer John Erb was driving the same SUV eastbound on the Golden Center Freeway near the Gold Flat Road exit when a deer ran out it front of him, Hernandez said. Erb swerved but still struck the deer with the left front fender, killing the animal and rendering the vehicle inoperable.

A third deer accident was reported to the CHP on Friday.

At 6:15 p.m., Thomas Jackson, 59, of Grass Valley was southbound on Highway 49 near Auburn Road when a deer darted in front of him.

The motorcyclist’s Harley-Davidson slammed into the deer, and he was thrown from the bike, Hernandez said. Jackson said he would find his own medical treatment, and the deer was killed.

Driving within the speed limit or slower in areas of known deer activity is the best way to avoid hitting them, Hernandez said. Deer whistles available at auto part stores can help ” but not always.

“If they’re standing on the shoulder, those deer whistles work,” Hernandez said. “But if they are running, they won’t hear it.”

“If you see one, look for another because they travel in pairs,” Hernandez said of deer. “At night, put on your high beams if there is no other traffic.”