Over at grandviewoutdoors.com, Scott Brown reminds us that “A deer and a moving vehicle do not make good dance partners. Sometimes a collision simply results in a new bumper or scratched hood. But, often they end with injuries and sometimes fatalities.” For evidence, he provides the above video of a deer jumping – OK maybe falling off a highway overpass onto the windshield of a car below. The story has a happy ending. Yes, well, wikipedia tells us . . .
In 2000, of the 6.1 million lightweight motor vehicle collisions reported in the US, 1 million involved animal-vehicle collisions. Deer–vehicle collisions lead to about 200 human deaths and $1.1 billion in property damage every year. State and federal governments, insurance companies, and drivers spend an addition $3 billion in an effort to reduce and manage the increasing number of deer-vehicle collisions.
Two hundred deaths a year from automotive deer strikes and the antis worry about accidental firearms-related deaths amongst children? For contrast, the cheerfully-named childdeathreview.org reports that “In 2000, 174 children (0-18) in the United States died from unintentional firearm-related injuries. A number skewed by the teen thing (think: gang bangers) that’s dropped 89% since 1975.
Meanwhile, the Wiki hive mind reports that 20 to 30 million deer populate North America. The population – and the danger – is growing.
The most important but largely overlooked contributing factor to deer – vehicle collisions is the reduction of populations of top predators. One of the most significant effects of the large predators is the control of populations of large herbivores, such as white tailed deer. It has been estimated that deer populations in Eurasia and North America are six times lower in areas with wolf than in areas without wolf.
Since wolf and puma’s populations have been extirpated or reduced from most of the USA populations of deer have become superabundant. More than 100 lives and millions of dollars in property damage will be saved in the USA alone just by being more tolerant to these animals.
Wolf tolerance is all well and good (except where it isn’t). How about we simply encourage more Americans to shoot deer and harvest the meat?