Last evening as I was driving back to the mountain from a meeting, I saw deer in four different places in or along the road. So far I’ve been lucky and have never hit one in all my years of driving. Part of my "luck," I believe, is due to a few simple rules that I follow religiously during the height of the deer rut. I don’t mean to imply that I or you will never, ever hit a deer if we both follow these rules, but I know I’ve avoided at least several accidents because I do follow them.
1. Use your fog lights and your high beams whenever you can, even if it’s in weather or darkness conditions where you wouldn’t normally use either. Both these lights illuminate the sides of the road better than just your normal headlights.
2. With the sides of the road better illuminated, you should now look for eye gleams off both edges of the road. Avoiding deer depends on you seeing them first. Fortunately, unlike bear, deer eyes are on the sides of their heads so your headlights will pick up the gleams. With bears, these directions won't help much because their eyes are in the front of their faces, and your headlights won't catch them (plus they’re black, which doesn’t help either).
3. Slow down! In order to keep your eyes on both the road and along the edges of the road, drop your speed at least 5 mph slower than your normal speed. It’s also easier to stop when you’re not going so fast.
4. When you see a deer, even if it doesn’t look as though it’s going to cross the road, slow down even more and/or stop to look around. This time of year, if there’s one deer, there’s more of them and who knows what side of the road these "more" are on.
5. If a deer stops in the middle of the road with that stereotypical "deer in the headlights" act, stop and flash your headlights between high and normal. Headlights seem to confuse them, but the change from normal to high and back again always gets them moving, in my experience.
6. Good luck! So far, so good, and I hope to keep it that way.
I've had a few requests to post a photo of the fig tree that now is sweeping the ceiling of my cabin and has grown tall enough for me to sit underneath. Perhaps a more interesting shot would have been video of me trying to get the tree inside a one-story door, but fortunately there is no footage of that nor of the curses that accompanied it. So here is a photo, complete with a portrait of Ben, the bad cat.