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Deer and Related Observations.......


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Yesterday the weather here in Arkansas was glorious! Compared to the triple digit temperature from last week, Saturday and Sunday brought highs in the upper 80's with no humidity. This is indeed rare for July!


I spent the better part of the day riding through the Ouachita National Forest, which has endless miles of gravel roads. I rode a little over 150 miles on dirt and encountered one vehicle, a Forest Service Ranger vehicle that was coming in the opposite direction.


My primary purpose for writing was to describe some deer behavior that seemed noteworthy:


The first deer I saw was at approximately 9:00am on Hwy. 10

about 25 miles west of Little Rock as I was headed to the woods. I was behind an older lady in a mini van who was traveling around fifty mph. I saw a brown blur in the trees on the right side of the road, and a large buck ran right in front of the mini van and as his hooves hit the pavement you could tell he wanted to speed up, but the road was slippery to him and he had trouble getting traction. The lady in the van seemed oblivious. She never touched her brakes and from my vantage point it appeared she missed the deer by inches.


I was soon off the blacktop, and riding through some very rugged terrain when I spooked two doe deer who were grazing in the ditch as I rounded a corner at around thirty miles per hour. At first they looked up at me and stared, then they bolted across the gravel road in front of me. Rather than seek two different escapes into the woods, one ran first and the other seemed deadset on following in the exact path of the first deer. Given my speed and the distance I wasn't at risk but the behavior of the deer seemed significant.


The next deer took me completely by surprise as I was on the pegs in some very loose gravel and it was all of a sudden there on the right side of the bike. It appeared to be hiding in the ditch and became nervous and bolted just missing me. I was only doing around twenty mph, but that one ranked high on the pucker factor!


The last two I saw as I hit the blacktop to head home. It was around 4:00pm and as I passed a gravel road on my right, out of habit I was scanning ahead, not only looking for deer but for the not so unusual pickup truck that rolls through stop signs without looking for bikes. Just off the road in the shadows were a buck and two does, munching away on the grass in the ditch. They didn't even look up as I sped by them.


So here are my Arkansas deer observations:


1. Deer are predictably unpredictable.


2. Deer don't get good traction on blacktop.


3. Older ladies in mini vans and deer do not mix well.


4. Deer don't have watches and don't realize they shouldn't be out during the middle part of the day.


5. Being herd animals, deer will follow one another regardless of the danger.


6. Cooler weather seems to make all creatures more active.


7. Arkansas is one of the best kept motorcycling secrets in the world, even with all the deer!


Best wishes and please watch out for those deer! They are everywhere!


Mike thumbsup.gif

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