Wow, where did the summer go? It seems like the days went by two to three at a time, weeks went by like days and the months just disappeared!

It looks like the fall foliage show is going to be a bust around our “neck of the woods” this year, although there are some nice displays here and there. Recently I traveled through Wyoming County and observed some beautifully colored foliage on the hills (surrounded by those damned wind turbines, though).

Regular gun season for deer is just around the corner: November 20th through December 12th. Archery season for deer started on October 1st, continues until gun season starts and then resumes from December 13th through December 21th and then again from December 26th to January 1st.

These dates are important not only to hunters but also non-hunters. Why?

Well, when the season is on, deer get pushed around a lot and driven into areas they may not be familiar with. This of course has them crossing roads all times of the day and night, which puts motorists in jeopardy — especially the way many are driving today, passing in no passing zones and going way over the speed limit.

I once saw the effects of a motor vehicle-deer collision where the deer went through the front windshield, and it wasn’t pretty for the driver or the vehicle. Imagine a 100- to 250-pound sack of rocks being thrown against your vehicle while you’re traveling 55 mph! Not only is there serious damage to the vehicle, there’s the potential damage to you, and/or any passengers.

Deer are dealing with two things this time of the year that put us in danger: the mating season and being pushed into areas they are not familiar with, which causes them to cross through areas that they don’t realize are dangerous to them.

Mating season (the “rut”) starts in October and runs to January, with the peak actively occurring about mid-November. Now, remember: Gun season starts on November 20th; and that day sees the most hunter turnout and thus the most deer disturbance. Deer are running all over the place, night and day, looking for mates and avoiding hunters.

So, how do you avoid colliding with a deer? Slowing down and keeping your eyes glancing ahead on the road shoulder go a long way towards prevention.

If you see a deer ahead, blow your horn and flick you headlights, which may scare it back.

When you see a deer cross the road in front of you, don’t assume you are then safe. Deer often travel in small groups and there is always the chance that a “trailer” will jump out in front of you trying to catch up with the others — so just slow down and, again, blow that horn and flick your headlights.

If you travel the same roads frequently, you usually know when the deer cross, so make a mental note of those areas and slow down ahead of time. When I used to ride motorcycle a lot, I always blew the horn and flicked my lights as I went through those areas.

If a deer, or any other animal for that matter, steps out on to the road in front of you, don’t swerve to avoid it. This usually results in an accident. No one wants to kill an animal with their vehicle but trying to avoid it usually causes serious problems for you.

• • •

Along with hunters pushing deer around, you have a lot of small game hunters out doing the same thing unintentionally, so all of the fall season is a time to be cautious on the road.

Those idiots passing in no-passing zones and driving over the speed limit have a higher likelihood of collisions with animals, and more serious collisions at that, but the big thing here is they are jeopardizing other folks’ lives. It’s too bad our police don’t nail more of these characters (and too bad judges don’t give them higher fines), but of course we have our police driving around in brightly marked vehicles so the idiots can see them. Ever see an unmarked police vehicle? They have a lot of lights they can flash and a siren they can sound in an emergency, don’t they? Maybe police departments should take a hint from hunters and get camouflaged!

While I’m mentioning hunters, I’d like to address a disturbing thing I have been noticing lately: their vehicles. Most are good about getting their vehicles off road when parking, but there are those few (probably the same idiots mentioned above) who just can’t pull it off. I have seen some trucks parked way out onto the pavement. It doesn’t make any difference whether it’s a little-used road or not, the behavior puts other people in risky situations.

Maybe our police should start writing tickets for illegal parking. This is especially true of the people using the shooting ranges at the Tonawanda Wildlife Management Area. Sometimes you can barely get by them. Of course, look at those shooting ranges: lots of dangerous shooting and garbage left behind, a real eye sore, revealing a lot about the folks that use them. It makes other responsible shooters and hunters look bad in the public eye. It makes the state Department of Environmental Conservation look bad, too, as they do little to enforce the rules of those ranges.

Doug Domedion, outdoorsman and nature photographer, resides in Medina. Contact him at (585) 798-4022 or woodduck2020@yahoo.com .

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