My brother tried to warn me. He’s had experience with the dangerous white tailed deer. Let me pass the word: The wildlife up here can be dangerous.
There are more deer in the Upper Peninsula than humans and many of them seem to be determined to commit suicide on the grill of your vehicle. Serious! I speak from VERY close encounters over the past 2 months with deer, one that was close enough to my driver’s window I could have kissed it. It was almost as if the deer would earn special deer points if it managed to get through my window.
It’s something to think about when driving on the narrow roads with dense forests on both sides. Which pretty much describes all the roads in this region of the U.P.
You may be thinking I’m exaggerating. After all, I’m a traveler attempting to write a funny blog post and probably making up deer stories. I promise I’m not. The term “deer caught in the headlights” exists for a reason. Although they might look cute, deer are the dumbest animals in the Upper Peninsula. Here are some tips on how to avoid hitting them.
Understanding deer behavior is one of the first and best ways to avoid a deer encounter. Deer are social animals, so if you see one, youbetcha there are more. Because they travel in packs, deer operate on the follow-the-leader principle: Once one animal crosses a road, the others are likely to follow. They also tend to make split-second decisions: Just because a deer seems perfectly happy on one side of the road as you approach doesn’t mean that it won’t change its mind and dart across at the very moment you drive by.
Deer are most active from dusk until dawn. This means they’re most active when your eyes are least equipped to spot them. Thankfully, deer come factory-equipped with a reflective glowing eyes. Scan the darkness constantly for two shiny greenish-yellow dots looking your direction. They’re either deer or an alligator.
There are, of course, devices that are said to ward off deer. My family’s favorite, the “deer whistle”, is stuck to nearly every vehicle bumper in the U.P. It’s supposed to work by using wind to generate a high-frequency sound that scares the deer off, but I’m not so sure it works. My defense is to play it safe: Anticipate a visit from these hooved idiots, assuming that they’ll probably wander into my path at the worst possible time.
P.S. There were no deer injured to create this funny/informative post. I think deer are beautiful to watch. Just stay away from my car!!