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Deer Whistles...yes, really


DiggerJim

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Okay, I know about the usual deer whistles and the studies about their ineffectiveness due to the frequencies involved. But has anyone had any experience with these ? Usually I just ignore the topic (I'm a fan of blinding light to jacklight them by the roadside :grin:) but I saw Ardys Kellerman this weekend and she said she's got one of these and claims they work. I'm not quick to ignore a million-miler so I figured I'd look. These ones seem to at least understand that deer hear the same frequencies we do (vs. the whistles that aren't).

 

Any experience good or bad?

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Jim,

try 'em and report back.

 

Personally their site provides no scientific study or basis, doesn't seem to address the Doppler effect, merely claims to produce a sonic echo, and provide anecdotal testimony.

 

They talk about deer in open fields along roadways.

 

Those aren't the deer that come flying out of the woods going 90deermph perpendicular to your route of travel.

Those deer aren't going to hear, IMO, your whistles sonic echo bouncing off the road surface, any more than they would see your multilight front facing array or hear your exhaust.

 

Good luck.

 

 

 

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Dave_zoom_zoom

Hi Jim

 

They seem to work just great!

 

I had an "extremely close" encounter about 2 years ago. Scared the he-- out of me. I purchased a set of the whistles you refer to. I've had absolutly no problems since.

 

Now if I would only make the time to mount those whistles, I'm positive the effectiveness would be even greater.

 

(true story)

 

:thumbsup:

Dave

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The system I've always used in deer country is to just leave my left turn signal on. That way the deer will think I'm an old man and therefore driving a Buick. As we all know, Buicks are the natural predators of deer and they will flee the area immediately. So far it's been working great.

 

-------

 

 

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Joe Frickin' Friday

The universal claim with deer whistles - powered or not - is that they alert the deer to your presence by making a noise. The implication is that your car or motorcycle, when not outfitted with a deer whistle, is so stealthy that the deer can't hear you coming until you're just about on top of them.

 

Don't know about you, but my hearing is good enough that I can easily hear a car approaching from a good 1/4-mile away. I'll bet the deer can, too - it's just that they're not evolved to respond effectively to things moving at such high speeds. Just as a cager might pull out in front of a motorcyclist travelling at 80 MPH in a 55-MPH zone ("I saw him, but I didn't realize he was going that fast"), so a deer might jump in front of you, not realizing that you're doing 40+ MPH.

 

For a related example, consider squirrels. How many times have you seen squirrels start crossing the road as you approach, and continue crossing even when it becomes bloody obvious (to you) that they're not going to make it across? They see you, they have several seconds of time in which to make the decision to turn around and go back, but they run right into your tire tread.

 

Short version: deer and squirrels are dumb. They run on instinct, and instinct has not prepared them to deal with high-speed vehicles zooming through their territory. I don't think there's any reason to believe that making your car or motorcycle noisier by any means will reduce the incidence of deer strikes.

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No matter what I use, they still will not come to me. Just like my wife, no matter what or how I whistle she stays away. Oh wait ...

 

Never mind...

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Shiny Side Up
... Short version: deer and squirrels are dumb. They run on instinct, and instinct has not prepared them to deal with high-speed vehicles zooming through their territory. I don't think there's any reason to believe that making your car or motorcycle noisier by any means will reduce the incidence of deer strikes.

 

AGREED - flash the lights and honk the horn while putting on the brakes.

 

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Glad that works for you but I'm not that concerned with the ones I can see, slow a bit and pay attention.

 

It is the ones that come out of the woods without warning, some at road level, some from embankments above the road, that are of concern, IMO.

That is when you hope for a smart deer.

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Actually a car/light truck can be heard in open country from 3 miles by a human with ordinary hearing (tire noise on pavement)..Have had distant vehicles interfere with my own listening while hunting to be familiar with this.

 

In my neighborhood the local road rats are accustomed to cars but still look up to see whats coming much of the time. The other times, a quick horn hit gets them looking up 100%. So I suspect almost anything that pulses a sound and is a different type of noise would work to get their attention temporarily. But once its "normal" to them, only some will bother to look.

Like tallman, I found the ad unconvincing.

 

Around where I live the counties have taken to more aggressive vegetation control for the past decade- clearing an 8 ft or more wide strip off the shoulder- done with a combo of herbicides and mowers. Gives me and the deer a better chance of seeing and avoiding each other (and also greatly reduces roads blocked by fallen trees in hurricane season) but there are still dead deer every few days on some roads. As any hunter can tell you, they're quirky animals and not always real bright. The smartest always seem to be the big old bucks who know how to hide when the season is on yet feed in the open a couple days earlier....

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Paul Mihalka

The problem are not the ones you see or the ones that calmly see you. The problem is with the ones that get scared by something else and just happen to to be in the wrong place at the wrong time for both of you while running mindless. I have two bike-deer kills. Both of them just jumped out of nowhere.

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Dave_zoom_zoom
Hi Jim

 

They seem to work just great!

 

I had an "extremely close" encounter about 2 years ago. Scared the he-- out of me. I purchased a set of the whistles you refer to. I've had absolutly no problems since.

 

Now if I would only make the time to mount those whistles, I'm positive the effectiveness would be even greater.

 

(true story)

 

In an effort to be "a bit" more helpful-------

Many years ago a GREYHOUND BUS told me that, If you can see them, a rapid beep beep beep of the horn may help them to notice you and they may try to avoid you. I've tried this many times. Most of the time (with a loud horn) this is helpful.

 

Dave

 

:thumbsup:

Dave

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Dave_zoom_zoom
Hi Jim

 

They seem to work just great!

 

I had an "extremely close" encounter about 2 years ago. Scared the he-- out of me. I purchased a set of the whistles you refer to. I've had absolutly no problems since.

 

Now if I would only make the time to mount those whistles, I'm positive the effectiveness would be even greater.

 

(true story)

 

In an effort to be "a bit" more helpful-------

Many years ago a GREYHOUND BUS told me that, If you can see them, a rapid beep beep beep of the horn may help them to notice you and they may try to avoid you. I've tried this many times. Most of the time (with a loud horn) this is helpful.

 

Dave

 

:thumbsup:

Dave

 

Oops--should have been "GREYHOUND BUS DRIVER"

 

Dave

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DiggerJim,

There is an interesting article on Auditory Animal Deterents here

 

It was written by Dr Helena Bender following a seven year research study. It's an interesting read of 170 pages. It is related to kangaroos but most of the data translates to deer behavior given that the auditory range of a deer is similar to a kangaroo.

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A few years ago I wrote the following article which refers to the main points in the study by Dr Helena Bender mentioned in my above post.

 

ANIMAL DETERRENT DEVICES

 

Every Australian driver is aware of the hazards of kangaroos venturing into the path of a vehicle. The event is generally, but not always, in places where kangaroos are abundant and most often, it is in country areas of open road and higher speed limits. The results of a collision with a kangaroo are well known and in the case of motorcyclists, the kangaroo presents a high risk of injury and motorcycle damage.

 

A range of products purported to deter animals is sold worldwide and are easily fitted to vehicles. The effectiveness should be questioned before one can accept that fitting the devices might result in the reduction of the risk of an animal collision.

 

Too often, “human thinking” leads us to expect that the response of a kangaroo hearing one of these devices will emulate the human response and remove itself from the path of a vehicle. When a human recognises the sound of a vehicle, the person will determine the direction of the sound and associate it with the approaching object. Moreover, the person will need to calculate the direction and approach speed of the vehicle and execute a safe exit from the path in the given time.

 

An animal’s response will be neither as complex nor calculated as the human response so what can we expect a kangaroo to do when it hears an animal deterrent making its whistling sound? Can we expect it to move or can we expect it to stay still? What would encourage either response?

 

There are two major reasons why an animal will respond to a sound or an event. The first relates to instinctive behaviours that are pre-programmed at birth. Animals have an innate sense of survival and certain needs and fears help protect the animal from harm or extinction. This causes animals to act or react in a specific way without any prior learning prompting a reaction.

 

The second reason for a response involves learned behaviours that are directly linked to stimulus–response conditioning and it is the absence of this conditioning that makes the kangaroo’s response to the stimulus of an animal deterrent whistle unpredictable.

 

As an example, teaching a dog to sit is merely programming the dog to associate the response movement of sitting with the verbal command stimulus of “sit”. The association of the response and stimulus is usually enhanced by a reward. It’s important to note that the dog’s reward is not for “sitting”, the reward is for the dog recognising the command stimulus and then responding correctly.

 

Stimulus–response conditioning does not only include reward. There are four basic consequences that can modify an animal’s behaviour. They can be described as:

• something good can be given.

• something good can be removed.

• something uncomfortable or harmful can be introduced.

• something uncomfortable or harmful can be removed.

 

How does this relate to the behaviour of wild kangaroos grazing on the roadside or enjoying the warmth from the surface of the road in the late evening? A kangaroo’s sensory inputs used for survival are predominantly smell, sight and hearing and with animal deterrent devices, it is the response to sound stimulus that is relied upon for them to be affective.

 

If we apply the four basic consequences of stimulus–response conditioning to a roadside roo, none of the four consequences are likely to occur so we cannot expect a kangaroo to either modify ones grazing behaviour or remove themself from the road. There is no reward or adverse consequence for a kangaroo that either moves or remains stationary when hearing a whistle so the stimulus of the whistle sound is given without a prompt or instruction to elicit a desired behaviour from a kangaroo.

 

Animal deterrents may well have a null or even an adverse effect on the behaviour of kangaroos. It’s quite reasonable to assume that the absence of any of the four consequences of stimulus–response conditioning will allow animals to become desensitised to the sound of deterrents and the sound may ultimately produce a benign response of ignorance.

 

Whether animal deterrent whistles are an affective device in preventing animal collisions is a contentious issue. There will be some riders who have them fitted and deduce that an absence of a collision proves their value and an equal number will present experiences to the contrary. As there has been no reliable large scale testing of these whistles, opinions on their effectiveness will continue to polarise argument.

 

Keith Haynes

 

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So, any suggestions on how to get deer or roos to react properly? Maybe whistling bullets during hunting season? When I was backpacking in bear country, I'd pop off a couple of firecrackers before going to bed to put the smell of gunpowder in the air.

 

------

 

 

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Keith that's a really insightful observation that makes perfect sense to me. The obvious conclusion is we need a device we can mount on a motorcycle that emulates the sound of a tannery turning out shoes, wallets and purses. :rofl:

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Waste of money. I went for it, based upon a magazine review. I have now taken it off and thrown it away. I tried various angles and speeds. No critters paid any attention to it. I passed dogs, cows, horses, a bear, turkeys and geese, various rodents, and deer. They never reacted to it in any way.

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Good feedback. Ardys has had them for awhile but she also had a half million miles of no deer strikes without them. Cause & effect is hard to determine, except when one has them and the effect is animals shrugging their shoulders like you had :)

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