To Avoid Hitting A Deer, Look For ‘Eyeshine’

By CONNIE KUNTZ  OCT 28, 2020ShareTweetEmailA deer across the street from the WNIJ station on 1st St. in DeKalb.CREDIT CONNIE KUNTZ

It’s deer mating season. It’s also deer hunting season and the fall harvest. That means deer are out and about. They’re looking for love, safety and food — especially at dusk and dawn.ListenListening…0:49

Peggy Doty is an extension educator on the environmental and energy stewardship team for the University of Illinois Extension. When you are driving, she said to remember to slow down, give yourself extra space between vehicles, and, if it’s dark, scan the road for eyeshine.

“There’s a membrane in the eye right behind the retina in many animals — not in humans — and you’ll notice a lot of the animals that do have eyeshine tend to me more nocturnal.” She continued, “The little membrane acts like a mirror and bounces it [light] back.”

Doty explained that not all animal eyes glow the same.

“Deer tend to have a green reflective,” she said. “It has to do with chemicals in the membrane — you know, different substances, supposedly, and there’s varying amounts of pigments. I know for a fact that skunks have red eyes.”

Doty said you can even see this eyeshine in spiders. 

“If you shine a light in the summer in the wet grass, and you see a little itty bitty bright light, chances are it’s the reflection from that little membrane of a spider,” she said, “It’s kind of a cool thing.”

Doty said scanning for eyeshine increases your awareness of roadside animals and improves your chances of avoiding a collision. 

“I drive, looking for any shine,” she said. “Of course, then you see a reflective light on a poll and you’re like ‘Oh, it’s nothing, right?’ Some things are reflective from the Department of Transportation.”

But having that increased awareness may help you avoid a collision. Doty has never hit a deer. 

If you do hit a deer, Doty warned, “You’re going to be frazzled.” She said the best thing to do is “find a safe place to pull over and put your hazards on and regroup.”

Doty said if you feel it’s necessary, call the police for assistance, but if you don’t, you still need to document the accident. And, no matter how curious you are, stay away from the animal.

“If it’s unconscious and jumps up, and it’s a full-size deer, you’re talking about them possibly bouncing off of your body,” she said. “It’s best to stay away.”

Furthermore, it is illegal for anyone except law enforcement to kill a crippled deer, so resist the urge to put it out of its misery.

Deer killed from a vehicle collision can be claimed by any Illinoisan. Call 217-782-6431 or visit for more information about claiming road kill.

Accidents happen, but training your eye to scan for eyeshine is a big step in avoiding a collision. And if a deer should cross your path, don’t swerve to avoid it. Swerving could cause you to lose control of your vehicle or increase the severity of the crash. Instead, try to “glance” your vehicle off the deer. This could save your life.

In 2019, there were more than 16,000 deer accidents in Illinois. Most occurred in Cook, Madison, Sangamon, Will, Fulton, Peoria, Kane, Rock Island, Jacksn and Bureau counties. 604 of the accidents caused personal injuries and four of the deer-vehicle crashes resulted in human fatalities.

November is the Worst Month for Traffic Accidents with Animal-Related Collisions



November is the Worst Month for Traffic Accidents with Animal-Related Collisions

By Adam Estabrook

Come November, a month of holiday travel and bad weather, we’ll see busy roads and busier schedules. And according to the annual report on animal collisions by North Carolina’s Department of Transportation, it’s also a very dangerous time to be a deer.

For the years 2016 to 2018, November sees the most animal-related car crashes, with the month alone accounting for 21.9% of the total combined reported animal-related crashes. While the gathered data does not differentiate between the kinds of animals involved in these crashes, data analyses show that approximately 90% of all reported animal-related crashes involve deer.

The annual report contains information such as what months and times of day (or night) the most animal-related crashes occur, and which counties experience the greatest number of them.

Wake County sees the most crashes out of the 100 counties, with 822 in 2017, having a population of 1.072 million in 2017. While this yields one animal-related crash per 1,304 people, population is far from the only factor. Places with fewer roads and drivers see significantly fewer animal-related crashes, a story common in the western part of the state.

As for Watauga, while our 2017 figure was a mere 77 crashes (less than a tenth of Wake County), this is still one crash per 715 people. So while Wake County is far and away the most animal-unfriendly from a raw numbers perspective, Watauga is still a little more deadly per capita. Of course, any number of factors outside population may play into the figure, from how frequently our roads are traveled to nighttime visibility, to road culture. Likewise, more traffic through a particular county may increase the likelihood of animal-related crashes in that area.

Given Watauga’s close relationship to nature, the danger of animal collisions is all the more pronounced. Deer presence on roads is heightened during fall and early winter months, due to the hunting and mating seasons – by no coincidence are the months of October through January the most crash-prone, containing 56.6% of the year’s total animal-related crashes. Furthermore, the evening hours between 5 PM and midnight account for half of these crashes.

Fortunately for Watauga, the injuries suffered from these crashes have been non-fatal, with 7 injuries between 2016 and 2018 (out of a total of 220 incidents).

As November draws near, the Department of Transportation offers helpful tips to motorists that may decrease the risk to both themselves and the animals during their travels:

  • In heavily wooded areas, and areas with deer crossing signs, slow down, especially during late hours.
  • Wear a seat belt. Most deer-vehicle related injuries occurred while drivers or passengers were not wearing a seat belt.
  • Bridges, overpasses, railroad tracks, streams, and ditches see the most deer activity. Be especially vigilant around these areas.
  • When possible, drive with high beams on, and watch for eyes reflecting in the headlights.
  • Deer travel in groups. If you see just one, be on the lookout for another.
  • To scare oncoming deer, slow down and blow your horn in one long blast. Do not rely on deer whistles or reflectors, as these are unproven to be effective.
  • Maintain a safe distance between your vehicle and others. If a car ahead of you hits a deer, you could also become involved in the crash.
  • Do not swerve to avoid deer. This could cause a more serious crash with other vehicles, or cause your vehicle to flip.
  • Lastly, if you do strike a deer, do not touch it. Frightened and wounded deer can injure you or itself further. If possible, pull the car off the road and call 911.

So when traveling for the holidays, be mindful of the heightened deer activity, both for their safety and for yours. The annual report by the North Carolina Department of Transportation can be found here.

Newport News residents concerned about extending the hunting season

The City of Newport News will not be extending its hunting season.

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WVEC) — Newport News announced they will not be extending its hunting season on Wednesday.

The city recently enacted an Urban Archery Season that would have added four extra months to the current hunting season. However, they decided to revoke it after receiving negative feedback from the community.

On Wednesday, there was a community meeting where residents for and against Urban Archery Season were in attendance.

“In my own backyard I started counting them jumping over my fence about two years ago, and I stopped counting at 17,” said Martha Miller.

Miller is talking about deer. She said it was bad enough that they were eating her flowers, but she said when they attacked Max the family dog, enough was enough.

“She put her head down and butted him and rolled him in the grass, and I went to her to get him away, and he came up here, and the deer kind of came at me a little bit,” said Miller.

Miller, who lives in Fisher’s Landing, was one of several homeowners looking forward to September 1. That’s when the state’s Urban Archery Season begins, allowing homeowners the opportunity to bring professional archers into their yards to shoot and kill deer using a crossbow.

Christmas comes early for Maine deer: hunting season’s over

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — The final phase of Maine’s annual deer hunt is coming to an end for 2017.

Saturday is the last day of the year on which it is legal to hunt deer via muzzleloaders or archery. The deer hunting season began three months ago this year.

Hunters are limited in terms of where they can harvest deer. Muzzleloader hunters can only hunt in 14 of the state’s 29 wildlife management districts. Archery is limited to designated areas around a handful of urban locales in the state.

Maine has separate hunting seasons for firearms, archery and muzzleloaders. The state gave out thousands more firearms permits this year because wildlife managers said the deer population could withstand more hunting. Mild winters have led to high levels of deer survival in recent years.

Controversial bear hunt reinstated in Ontario

WBFO’s Dan Karpenchuk reports1467382_575553635851437_268599181_n

After 15 years, Ontario’s spring bear hunt is on again, on an experimental basis. It began on May 1, despite an 11th hour legal bid by animal rights groups to prevent it.

The case to bring back the hunt was based on years of complaints from organizations and residents who say there have been more dangerous human-bear encounters since the hunt was canceled in 1999.

The case against the hunt was made by the Animal Alliance of Canada and Zoocheck Canada. Lawyers for the groups argued that an early hunt violates animal cruelty laws; cubs could be orphaned and then die of starvation or be killed by predators.

They went to court arguing for a judicial review, but just a day before it was to begin, an Ontario judge dismissed that legal attempt to block or delay the hunt.

Ontario’s natural resources minister says he is pleased with the decision, saying the priority from the start was for the public safety of people in the north. Fish and Game groups also praised the decision, saying the hunt is the only one tool for managing the bear population and without it, the number of dangerous encounters will increase.

The animal rights groups say they are disappointed but will continue to fight against the hunt by careful monitoring and perhaps even having members out observing the hunting.

The pilot project to reinstate the hunt will run for six weeks in eight regions known for having the most public safety incidents involving bears.

An Upside to Just About Everything

The rain was pounding so hard off my roof last night that I went to sleep with the satisfied feeling that the storm forecast to continue on into today would surely put a damper on the opening day of elk season (a more sacred day than Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter combined to folks around here). But like a scene out of the cartoon “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” it seems nothing can put a damper on the local revelers murderous merriment.

Except for a lack of elk, that is.

Dawn broke to the rapid hammering of gunfire, in spite of the driving rain and near gale-force winds. It sounded like boys and girls of all ages were out playing with their new semi-automatics, sending lead sailing through the air for the sheer joy of it. If each round spelled a dead elk, every herd in the region would be felled by now. Don’t ask me how they get that “good clean shot” at that rate.

But with all the privately owned forest and farm land in these parts, this isn’t a popular destination for the suburban hunting faction. I knew the noise was all the result of just one overeager local resident, and that most of his shots hit only alders, salmonberry bushes or possibly another neighbor’s sheep or llama.

So what is the upside of all that insanity? Another neighbor out trolling around for elk in his $40,000.00 pickup (clad in full Cabella’s camo coveralls and an orange vest that made him look like some kind of demented, oversized crossing guard) inadvertently provided the answer when he pulled over to make small talk, bemoaning the fact that at the first sound of gunfire this time of year the elk for miles around make themselves scarce. He went to add, “…and they know the difference between deer and elk season too. I’ve been out every day of deer season and saw over a hundred head of elk, but now they’re nowhere to be found.”

Can’t say I feel sorry for the guy; it’s not like he was starving. Hunting is just a hobby for him—something to do. You know, like a tradition; just something to bullshit about with his buddies about at the local tavern or mini mart.

Meanwhile, for the elk hunting season is a matter of life and death.

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2013. All Rights Reserved

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2013. All Rights Reserved

Start of hunting season reignites animal abuse concerns

[Hunters guilty of animal abuse? Imagine that.]

Start of hunting season reignites animal abuse concerns

by Carrie-Marie Bratley, in General News ·        12-09-2013 10:18:00        · 0 Comments

With the start of September comes the start of hunting season, an anticipated moment for hunters across Portugal. But with it come fresh concerns for the dogs used in the activity, particularly after the discovery of a ‘hunting kennel’ in Rogil, Aljezur (Algarve) in May this year, where more than 30 dogs were being kept in shocking conditions.

Start of hunting season reignites animal abuse concerns

Emaciated, wounded, and terrified; one by one six dogs were collected from the Rogil kennel by animal rescue association SOS Algarve Animals after weeks of pleading. The owner finally relented, but gave up just half a dozen of his thirty-something dogs. The dogs’ pathetic states were witnessed by The Portugal News as they were loaded into volunteers’ vehicles; their discovery opening a can of worms for local, regional and national authorities. Fortunately for the rescued animals they went on to make full recoveries at SOS’s farm in Almancil and have since been re-homed abroad. But, according to animal welfare associations, the case is far from being a one-off in Portugal and calls for tighter control over hunting kennels in Portugal are growing. According to the European Society for Dog and Animal Welfare (ESDAW), “In Portugal, Spain, France and many other southern countries, dogs are used specifically as a hunting tool. In many of these countries, it is a cruel and deep-rooted tradition that the dogs are believed to hunt better if they are kept starved or even emaciated.” Portugal’s Party for Animals and Nature also believes that the situation in Rogil is “paradigmatic” of what happens in the north and south of this country, and says it is “urgent” that Portugal creates a legal status for its animals so punishment for neglectful owners is on a par with the rest of Europe. National animal rights association Animal has launched a petition ‘For a New Animal Protection Law in Portugal’, which at the time of going to press has amassed close to 72,000 signatures. Yet despite the furore surrounding the Rogil case, so far no action has been taken against the kennel’s proprietor. The kennel in question was first visited by SEPNA nature and environment protection officers, which are part of the GNR police force, on 9 December 2012 after they were contacted by worried locals. At the time the officers counted 31 dogs and listed 29 offences committed: 28 for lack of proper licensing and one for keeping too many dogs in a rustic building. The kennel did have a valid licence issued by the ICNF Nature Conservation Institute for keeping up to 25 hunting dogs for the 2012/2013 season. A letter from SEPNA’s head offices states that at the time of the visit in December no injuries requiring medical assistance were seen on the dogs. But a few months later, in May, The Portugal News received photographic evidence clearly showing otherwise. In one horrific photo a dog has a massive open wound towards the end of its leg with a broken bone visibly jutting out. Other photos show evidently undernourished dogs chained up in pens with floors covered inches-deep in faeces, many dotted with sores and wounds. Authorities eventually returned to the kennel on 23 May this year, but on arrival all but three of the dogs had disappeared. Confronted by SEPNA, the owner claimed he had given his animals to acquaintances and friends. He told the authorities that twelve dogs had been sent to Spain, from where they had originally been purchased; ten had been given to a kennel in northern Portugal, which he refused to identify, and two were given to local friends, who he also refused to identify. He further said he would be taking the three remaining dogs – which a local municipal vet who was accompanying the authorities deemed to be in good health – to a nearby relative’s house. A petition launched by SOS to bring the owner of the Rogil kennel to justice has so far gathered 1,212 signatures, though any action against him has yet to be taken. “I think it is appalling and clearly evident that [he] is allowed to have however many dogs he wants and to treat them however he wants”, said SOS founder Laura McGeoch. Speaking to The Portugal News this week a GNR spokesperson insisted an investigation to verify the location of the missing Rogil dogs is still ongoing. “We are on a good path in terms of material to confirm their whereabouts”, the spokesperson said, adding “all efforts are being made” to locate them. The GNR source further revealed that since the Rogil kennel was brought to their attention the Algarve regional SEPNA is paying closer attention to such set-ups. He elaborated: “The Algarve isn’t really a place where there are many registered kennels; they tend to be found more in the Alentejo. But we are taking great care in inspecting this matter and not just because of the incident in Rogil.”

How the Grinch Stole Hunting Season

In answer to the awful, dreadful opening day of hunting season, I’m re-posting the following uplifting poem (based on the Dr. Seuss classic Christmas cartoon)…

How the Grinch Stole Hunting Season

Every hunter

Down in Hunt-ville

Liked hunting season a lot…

But the Grinch,

Who lives just North of Hunt-ville,

Did NOT!

The Grinch hated hunting! The whole hunting season!

Now, please don’t ask why. There are many good reasons.

It could be because hunter’s heads aren’t screwed on quite right.

It could be, perhaps, that their belts are too tight.

But I think that the most likely reason of all

May be that their hearts (and other parts) are two sizes too small.

“They’re cleaning their guns!” the Grinch snarled with a sneer.

“Tomorrow is hunting season! It’s practically here!”

Then he growled, with his Grinch fingers nervously drumming,

“I MUST find a way to keep hunting season from coming!”

For, tomorrow, he knew…

…All the Hunt-girls and boys

Would wake up bright and early. They’d rush for their toys!

Their rifles, their shotguns—all things that destroy!

And then! Oh, the noise! Oh, the noise! Noise! Noise! Noise!

That’s one thing he hated! The NOISE! NOISE! NOISE! NOISE!

Then they’d carve up the body of some unfortunate beast,

Which was something the Grinch couldn’t stand in the least!

And they’d feast! And they’d feast!


I MUST stop hunting season from coming!

…But HOW?”

Then he got an idea!

A brilliant idea!



“I know just what to do!” The Grinch laughed in his throat.

And he made a quick Santy Claus hat and a coat.

And he chuckled, and clucked, “What a great Grinchy trick!

With this coat and this hat, I’ll look just like Saint Nick

And I’ll slide down their chimneys, empty bags in my fist,


Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson