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    1 of 17
    7 years ago
    After a few years of not having any time to ride I am getting our bikes together.

    We live in Western Howard County, Maryland and there are deer everywhere.

    Does anyone have any suggestions about which kind and brand of deer whistle that I should get to help reduce my chances of hitting a deer?

    buffalo, supposedly knows something about this, but I was wondering if anyone else might be able to give me some advice as well.
    2 of 17
    7 years ago
    Seems like I read an article not long ago about a study in which they were shown to be unhelpful, or at least did not provide the desired result.  I'll try to locate the article.

    I've always felt that deer responded better to my Ducati than to other bikes I've ridden, due to the exhaust note, but I can't support that with proof.  Anyway, it wouldn't be at all practical to strap a running Ducati to your motorcycle.

    I don't know what I would do in your situation.  The area where I grew up is absolutely crowded with deer and I think it would worry me a lot to ride there, especially all those roads with woods on both sides and no shoulder.
    3 of 17
    7 years ago
    Found one.

    Discouraging Results Based upon the observed response of 319 deer, the researchers concluded the pure tones did not alter deer behavior in such a way as to prevent deer-vehicle collisions. In other words, the simulated sounds of deer whistles were no more effective than no sound at all.

    That part was based on using tones generated through speakers so that the frequencies were know to be audible to the deer.  (Many of the deer whistles don't generate any real noise, ultra-sonic or not.
    4 of 17
    7 years ago
    Bluntly: Deer whistles do nothing. There is no scientific evidence, and the anecdotal evidence seems to be as much "saved me" as there are "didn't stop a school bus full of children from slamming into a herd of deer and bursting into flames." Nothing will beat awareness of your surroundings and riding appropriately. If you can't accept the risk- time to find a different pastime. Maybe trolling Youtube videos.
    5 of 17
    7 years ago
    From Brian Hagmeier on the M-BY-MC page:

    "As a rural Iowan who also bow hunts deer I feel like this question is right in my wheelhouse. First, take the deer whistles off your bike, country folk are laughing at you. Deer are most active in twilight. In the mornings they are moving from bedding areas (dense thickets primarily) to water sources and tend to browse the wooded areas till midday. They get back up about an hour before sunset and move either to water sources in hot weather or straight to fields and feeding areas. This evening movement is your highest risk of contact. Hint, don't look for deer they blend in to well so look for movement. Also, there are seldom just one deer. A common cause of deer accidents is a driver watching the deer that already crossed the road and doesn't see the second deer entering the roadway. Depending on where you live fall mating season can range from late October to early December. Find out when it is for your area so you are mentally prepared to see deer on the roads at any hour of the day or night. In the Midwest we also have to be alert all hours of the day during spring planting and fall harvest. Farm equipment in the fields will spook deer off their daybeds and they tend to get panicked and run accross even the busiest roads."
    6 of 17
    Gerald Barrowman
    7 years ago
    These things were “developed” in Scandinavia.... Finland I believe.  
    Years ago I saw their first ad in the back of Popular Mechanics Magazine. I wrote a letter asking if they would work on a motorcycle. I got back several colorful brochures but no mention of motorcycles.

    I wrote again hoping to get through and got the same brochures again. I wrote once more, this time being more explicit, saying I wouldn’t buy them if they didn’t answer my concerns and all I got were the same brochures again. That was enough for me to think they were a scam.

    I haven’t seen anything about them in quite a while but everything I did read back then ended in skepticism. A quick look on Google should tell you all you need to know. 
    7 of 17
    Gerald Barrowman
    7 years ago
    A friend of mine riding his Gold Wing stopped a deer with his air horns at the edge of a highway. The deer was in full stride and it threw out its front legs in a skidding stop when he laid on the horns. 

    Another friend hit one at speed so suddenly he didn’t have time to blink (good thing). You couldn’t help laughing at his story. He ended up in a ditch covered with blood and gore…. which he thought was his (imagine that!) before he realized it was deer guts. He broke his shoulder blade but was fine otherwise. 
    8 of 17
    Gerald Barrowman
    7 years ago
    I hit a good sized German Shepherd once at about 50 mph. I had time to lean forward to brace myself and lift my butt some to put my weight down low. I kept the throttle steady (NEVER chop the throttle under these conditions) I sent that dog spinning to the side of the road. The bike quivered just a little.  
    9 of 17
    Michael Stout
    7 years ago
    From experience, riding mostly through wooded areas here in Arkansas, your best bet is awareness. Scan the roads, and shoulders, ahead of you. Listen, as you'll occassionally hear one running towards the road. If you see one, look behind it first. Expect to see another nearby, unless you lucked into the last deer crossing.

    Also from experience, deer build up an "immunity" to noise. Loud exhaust may frighten them off the road, but it might not. You are your best safety mechanism, not a whistle.
    10 of 17
    Gerald Barrowman
    7 years ago
    I just listened to a fascinating internet talk on the human brain’s hippocampus and “muscle memory” in of all things, an internet ad for advanced training in self defense with a hand gun! 

    It was an hour long talk and I listened to it twice!  And….I’ve never owned a hand gun and never will! 

    What fascinated me was how he talked about the human brain’s hippocampus and muscle memory coming into play when we are faced with a sudden, violent/shocking event, like a gun in our face…… (or…I’m thinking…… deer, left turner, etc). 

    I’ve always thought I’m still riding today because my 20+ years of dirt biking “trained” my hippocampus and ingrained the necessary muscle control to survive a couple very close calls I’ve had in road riding. NOW THIS GUY (sorta) SAYS YOU CAN LEARN IT FROM HIS DVD’S!? 

    You know… makes you wonder if Virtual Reality DVD’s, etc. could be developed to train our senses this way? 

    Although I am intrigued by this premise I'm not going to buy these DVD’s. However, if I had a CCW permit my money would be in the mail yesterday. 

    Here’s the link:
    11 of 17
    7 years ago
    Thanks for all of the thoughtful answers.

    After the first few responses I did some searching and found some other forum threads and articles that say basically the same thing.  The whistles don't work and awareness and training is the best bet.

    Brian's post about the behavior and general habits of deer were very interesting.  Probably a good idea to do some further research on deer.

    A lot of the basics, I already knew.  Namely, when you see one, be prepared for more and the best thing to do is to slow down and proceed with caution while passing them.

    A very interesting idea Gerald Barrowman, regarding using some sort of virtual reality to train your brain to better react to and avoid a collision with an animal.  I think that it would work, or at least help, as I think that it is pretty clear that simulators of all sorts help to train people for specific tasks of all kinds.
    12 of 17
    Gerald Barrowman
    7 years ago
    As the CCW link explains our brain’s hippocampus reacts in one of three ways to a life threatening situation: fight, flight or freeze.
    If you’ve read about “Target Fixation” and the Hurt Report findings you know that many bikers freeze. 

    I did some Googling and found this: “Amygdala hijack” (fear caused by optical stimulus)

    This is good stuff!

    It’s possible by just having this knowledge of how our brain (auto) reacts could make a difference in a life threatening situation where you need to think clearly to avoid (swerve, etc.) in a sudden and potentially deadly situation. 
    13 of 17
    Gerald Barrowman
    7 years ago
    Another part of that CCW talk I found interesting was his theories on “DENIAL”.

    My first thought when I read that was a biker in traffic weaving in and out of lanes. 

    Maybe someone could come up with one of those catchy slogans like “AGATT” (All Gear All The Time) to remind bikers of the pitfalls of the hippocampus, amygdala and DENIAL?
    14 of 17
    Gerald Barrowman
    7 years ago
    I’m sorry my vague ramblings about virtual reality,  the hippocampus/amygdala etc. led you to believe it was about avoiding collisions with an animal.

    I was actually thinking more about vehicles. 

    The only option you have in a situation where your hippocampus/amygdala (target fixation) are activated by an animal so close and at speed, is to brace yourself and not chop the throttle, that’s it. 

    A deer is so unpredictable it’s dangerous to try and maneuver around them at any speed. They can swap ends and go the opposite way in the blink of an eye, and have been known to smash into bikes trying to go around behind them.

    If you have time, slow down of course and proceed cautiously but as far as any tricks about the only one I can think of are air horns, the loudest and most expensive ones you can find. 
    15 of 17
    Gerald Barrowman
    7 years ago
    One very memorable experience I’ve had with my air horns was the expression on a guy’s face who pulled into a parking lot ahead of me with the intention of making a fast U turn and coming right back out on the highway to turn left in front of me doing 50+.

    Believe me, by the time I realized he was going to keep coming and didn’t see me I was close. It wasn’t just his facial expression, his whole body stiffened and jerked back violently as he hit the brakes and it said loud and clear: “where did that semi come from”!!??

    In that case a normal horn might have sufficed but I’ve had one close call where I’m sure the air horns saved me from at least serious injury. 

    A van pulled out in front of me from a side road (intending to go straight across) after dark and I’m doing 50+.

    It was so close I went into target fixation for a split second and actually hoped I would kill him when I hit that door.
    Luckily, my finger was on the horn button (the traffic had me nervous) and it stopped the guy, allowing me to swerve around in front with no more than an inch of clearance (I looked down at the Harley’s crash bar as it cleared his bumper). 

    I still often think, if I had had a normal horn would he have traveled an inch, maybe two, more before stopping? 
    16 of 17
    7 years ago
    Upgrading the horn is one of the things I typically do on all my bikes. My Beloved Blue Oil Burner came with some truly loud Fiams that got me hooked. I still have to upgrade the horn on the DR650. Stock horns are rarely sufficient.
    17 of 17
    7 years ago
    Sorry, missed this until tonight. Here's a link to the XP3 Hornet system that I installed on my bike:

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