Hit a deer

Discussion in 'Face Plant' started by Camcow, Oct 18, 2019.

  1. Camcow

    Camcow Adventurer Supporter

    Joined:
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    Burlington, MA
    I hit a deer on my '13 R1200GS. It was fortunately a small juvenile, so I did not go down or sustain any injury. We were in OH heading to Atwood Lake State Park to camp for the night, having run 555, 78, and some other sweet roads.

    The GS took the brunt of the impact, with a dent in the RHS header and the Touratech crash bar on that side bent backward to where it almost touches the cylinder head. My RH Clearwater Darla fork spot mount got bent 90 degrees, and there was hair stuck into the left side front tire bead, presumably from its head. Some blood spatter was on the front of the engine, and some deer poop on the RH sidecase.

    So the little guy came jumping across a ditch from the right at around 1 pm. I had just come over a rise. I had an instant to start squeezing front brake and yell some noise into my brother's ear on the intercom. (He was leading on his own GS.) There was a thud and the bike rolled over the deer. I thought I’d decapitated him, as I knew the body was still trailing and I’d hit it in the neck. But he was all just crumpled into the ditch on the RHS of the road, which was too deep to climb down and the road was just over a rise with no shoulder to stop safely. DeerInTire_PCGR2019.jpg DentedHeader_PCGR2019.jpg
    First deer I've ever hit, though I've certainly had close calls before. It was interesting to me how little the bars moved. Not sure if I hit it just right or the Telelever suspension helped absorb the blow. Certainly the cylinder and crash bar sticking out protected me better than any of my past sport bikes would have. I estimate I was doing about 45 mph and the deer couldn't have weighed more than 125 lbs.

    I've heated and bent the Clearwater mount back into shape. The bike seems to be running fine with the dented header. Rode it home 800 miles without issue. Keeping an eye on eBay and BeemerBoneyard for a used set for the right price.
    #1
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  2. Davidprej

    Davidprej Davidprej Supporter

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    Glad you're OK. Thanks for relating your experience. This is a almost constant threat we all are vulnerable to. And it seems to be one of those things we can't do much about. I've always heard deer come out more at dusk, but your kamikaze deer was out early aft.
    #2
  3. sibyrnes

    sibyrnes Adventurer Supporter

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    Glad you didn’t get hurt. And you are right, Ohio Rt 78 is a sweet ride! I just discovered that a couple weeks ago on my Multistrada. And thanks to your post, I’ll definitely be watching for deer next time!
    #3
  4. bigdog99

    bigdog99 Weaned and neutered

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    I think deer strikes are typically a comprehensive loss. You might not have to buy a used header if you check with your ins carrier.
    #4
  5. Schmittenhymer

    Schmittenhymer Northern Gravelholic

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    You stayed vertical - you are lucky.
    #5
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  6. r60man

    r60man Long timer

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    There are so many deer around me it is ridiculous. At peak times I always go slower than speed limit in the wooded roads. Which really takes some of the fun out of it. I see deer all times of day as well. Last night I had 3 in my driveway that were blocked by a large zebra grass, I turned in and had to slam on my brakes, in my driveway!
    #6
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  7. brenter

    brenter Brenter

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    It is the same way in Missouri and surrounding states. I quit riding at night all together.
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  8. PhotoAl

    PhotoAl Adventurer

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    WOW more damage t the header than I would have thought. I

    Met a fella in Montana who told me his wife when driving between towns tries to get behind an 18 wheeler so they will clear the deer out of the way. aid it is not uncommon to see deer knocked out of the way by the truck. I don't ride at night or at dusk. I will ride me scooter around the neighborhood after dark but even in a suburban environment have to be careful.
    #8
  9. Pvcwizard

    Pvcwizard Adventurer Supporter

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    I have to admit that I have a concern about deer on the highways, but worst than that are the cattle in the forests during the summer. Here in Wyoming I ride a lot of forest service roads to get to good trails. I don’t see much traffic during the week, but the cattle are terrible. Nothing like coming around a tight curve and having a dozen cattle standing or lying in the road. Now cattle in general are not the smartest things on the planet, but calves are just plain stupid and completely unpredictable. I haven’t hit one yet, but I’m sure it’s just a matter of time.
    #9
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  10. Dracula

    Dracula aficionado Supporter

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    The back roads trick to not hit (or get hit by them!) is to keep your eyes peeled and speed low, and if you ride past dark, have the best lights you can afford and keep speed even lower. Think 45 or less mph depending on road sides visibility. Train your peripheral vision, scan road sides deeper in the bush, not just looking far ahead. I have two strong LED aux lights aimed slightly sideways, exactly for that purpose. Practice visualizing a deer jumping at you, and places where they are likely to do so. You will learn after a while and hopefully not the hard way like I did.

    The only acceptable reaction when you sense or see deer, however far away, is to cover both brakes asap and actually slow way down NOW. Prepare to brake HARD, to a stop if needed. That is not possible on interstate, so think about it. If a hit is imminent, just hang on tight, don't try to out swerve the deer (they are very unpredictable as any animal). Know when you see one just crossed the road, a whole flock may follow.
    #10
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  11. Tripped1

    Tripped1 Smoove, Smoove like velvet.

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    Careful with that one, I had a semi vaporize a deer at about 85mph as I was passing him.

    .....All I knew about it was that I suddenly couldn't see, and that whatever it was stunk.
    #11
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  12. JMESC

    JMESC n00b

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    I totaled my brand new never even made on payment 850GSA hitting a big one at over 50mph. Broke some ribs after flying down the highway. Anyone that can hit a deer and not go down are very lucky. Glad you came out alright.
    #12
  13. PineLaneRider

    PineLaneRider Long timer

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  14. Sunrunner

    Sunrunner Adventurer

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    I have had three near misses and attribute each miss to the dear whistles on the bike. In two of the three, the deer/elk both turned around and ran back up the steep incline they were running down. They don't look cool, but I have become a believer in their effectiveness and try to get them on every bike I ride. I doubt it was the bike noise because one was a Goldwing and the other was a Super Tenere - both are relatively quiet bikes.
    #14
  15. hgulledge

    hgulledge Adventurer-of-sorts Supporter

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    ^^^
    Not borne out by lots of objective testing. Don't bet your life on them.
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  16. Sunrunner

    Sunrunner Adventurer

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    Agree 100% but for $10 if it helps at all, it is worth it. I was told the Sherri's Department back in Maryland did a before and after type evaluation based on number of deer hits in a year about 20 years ago. It certainly didn't end all hits but the number of hits dropped significantly. As a result of their testing, all their vehicles are now equipped with them. Agree with previous post though. Caution and awareness of where you are driving is the best tactic.
    #16
  17. bromax

    bromax Bromax Supporter

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    About 25 years ago I came across a rider down and his hand built chopper on fire.
    We were way back from anywhere. The rider, a big man, had a broken Fibula and was just watching his bike burn.
    He hit a big Muley, killed it and was in a bit of shock. I gave him my sleeping bag and went for help, no cell service!
    It had taken him two years to build this bike. He was a funny guy. He asked the police if he could keep the road kill to eat.
    If your reading this Richard, for being hurt and having lost your bike, it was a funny ending.
    #17
  18. Hopin

    Hopin Adventurer

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    Tennessee flat lands
    I think I'm a marked man!

    I had 3 run across my path yesterday, on the interstate, AT 10:30 in the morning! I knew there was nothing behind me, thank you McRider, I practice emergency breaking and dropped from 75 to 35 in record time. I could count the eye lashes on number 3! I come into work before 5am, so I get my night riding in. This morning I had one dart out of a wooded ditch just inside the city limits. I didn't even have time to get off the throttle and thought "this is it"! She gave an extra hard kick and I literally missed her by inches! Holy Shit! I guess its the ones you don't see that get ya??
    #18
  19. tiller4me

    tiller4me Adventurer

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    I live in a town of around a hundred thousand in north Texas. WE have deer in the surrounding area but not known to be in town. I needed a torx socket the other evening around 7:15 so off I go to the local hardware store. I started to jump on my KLR but decided the trip was going to be short and didn't want to take time to jacket up so I just jump into the truck. Best move I've made in a while. About a mile from the house I was on a MAIN thoroughfare passing a cemetery and noticed 3 deer crossing 6 lanes of traffic about 50 yards in front of me. I flashed my high beams to alert drivers in the oncoming lanes as I slowed to allow the deer plenty of time to clear the road in front of me. Just as I was starting to accelerate I was broadsided by another dang deer. Hot me right square in the passenger door. I never saw him coming. Thank goodness for my lazy streak that evening.
    #19
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  20. longslowdistance

    longslowdistance Long timer Supporter

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    A different close encounter story:
    Deer crossed my path at full speed and brushed the back of my moto.
    Had I not been exceeding the posted speed limit Bambi would have scored a direct hit. Just got lucky.

    Not advising go faster! Just observing that deer are random number generators of mayhem.
    #20