An all too familiar sight along Texas highways throughout the Texas
Hill Country. This roadkill was spotted between San Saba & Mason.
Hunting season will soon be upon us and there are some people who would like to see
it closed for good . They are the ones who always berate the hunters for going out in the
country and killing the ‘poor defenseless deer.’ They are afraid of destroying our
deer population. At least the hunters take their kill home and make good use of the meat.
However, you never hear anything about the many thousands of deer killed each year on our
Texas highways and left for the vultures.
If our deer population is ever wiped out, which is very unlikely; it will not be the
hunters who do it but rather the American driver. To get an idea of what I am
talking about just take a drive west or southwest of Cleburne for a hundred miles or
so. The nearest road kill I’ve seen was about 2 weeks after Thanksgiving on my way
to Glen Rose when I saw a deer beside hwy 67 about a mile this side of the
Johnson/Somervill county line.
On the way to visit my son who lived in San Saba, there was always several
fresh ‘road kill’ between Meridian and San Saba. On one trip my wife and I
counted 13 fresh killed deer, that is the ones that the buzzards haven’t started
eating on; on this 80 mile stretch of highway. Considering the hundreds of miles of
highways in central and west Texas where the main deer population is located, there
are innumerable deer killed every day.
While visiting my son shortly after he moved to Goldthwaite he mentioned that nearly
everyone in that area with pick-ups all had the heavy brush guards on the front, not
so much for protection while driving through brush, but to keep from damaging the
front of their trucks when they hit a deer.
An insurance agent in Hamilton told me that the most of the claims they get on the
comprehensive insurance is for damages from hitting deer. The Texas Game & Fish
Commission has estimated from these reports that 25,000 to 27,000 deer are killed
on Texas highways each year. From what I have seen I think you could easily double
that number as most hits are never reported.
My younger son is a trucker and on a run to San Angelo he hit a deer, damaging the left
fender of his Freightliner and costing him a little over $1,800 in repairs.
All deer killed on the roads of Hood, Erath, Bosque, Johnson and Somervell counties
are picked up by the Texas Highway Department and taken to Fossil Rim Wildlife
Refuge at Glen Rose to be fed to their cornivore. This saves them from buying meat
at the market.
On one trip to San Saba I left just a bit before sunset. As I was leaving out of town a
deer jumped out in front of me and stopped right in the middle of the road. I slammed
down on my brakes and skidded past him, missing by maybe a foot. These deer are
not afraid of automobiles.
A deer beside the road north of San Antonio. When we stopped to take his picture he
just raised his head and looked at us. These deer aren't afraid of automobiles.
I was warned by the insurance agent at Hamilton of another danger to look out for, and
that was buzzards. As you approach the crest of a hill, sometimes there will be a deer
carcas by the road with a buzzard dinning. As your car tops the rise, the buzzard takes
off over the road at just the right height to crash into your windshield. One morning just
as I topped a rise a buzzard flew up from a carcas, but instead of hitting my windshield
it brushed my side window.
This is not just a problem in Texas, but in every state that has a deer population.
There is no special season on this type killing; rather, it takes place 365 days a year.
While vacationing in Idaho, going from Arco to Craters of the Moon National
Monument, we saw a section of 10 ft high deer fence on both sides of the highway
about two miles long with a section in the middle of 4 ft fence about a quarter mile
long with lights about every 100 feet. A nearby marker states that this is a
section of the Elk migration trail from their summer feeding grounds in the
mountains to their winter feeding grounds in the nearby valley.
At one time there were many elk being killed on this stretch of highway by the
motorists, so the state put up the fence in order to force the elk to cross the
highway at this one section. Since the elk, like the deer, are mainly active at
night, the lights were put up so that the motorists would be able to see them
better. This cut down considerably on the number of elk killed during each migration
I know that it isn’t feasible to try to protect our deer in this manner, however the
state has put up signs in areas of high deer populations indicating deer crossing
areas and we should heed these warnings and slow down when driving through these
areas at night and watch for deer crossing the road.
Let’s try to cut down on the needless slaughter of the deer and other wildlife on the
highways and byways of our state.
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