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Roadkill and the Rut in Montana

Almost everyone knows that we are smack dab in the middle of hunting season right now, but did you know that it is also the rut? The rut going on now is for deer. Bucks this time of year are very one-track minded. They only have one thing in mind, and that is not looking out for your car. They will chase does anywhere and everywhere without the slightest bit of caution.

I remember my first time hunting. My husband, who has an extreme obsession with hunting, took me out to show me the sport he loves. We were hunting during the rut and came across a buck chasing a doe. The buck almost ran me over. He didn’t even notice we were there, he was so obsessed with the doe. My husband was yelling at me to shoot the buck, but I couldn’t find him in the scope, all I could see was brown. I didn’t know until the buck had ran off, that the brown in the scope that I saw was just hair. The buck was so close that that’s all I could see. Needless to say, my husband was less than thrilled that I didn’t pull the trigger. Since then I have learned to shoot the first thing I see and do it fast.

Sadly, I have never shot a buck in all the years that I’ve been hunting. I have, however, averaged hitting a deer with my car every other year. Yes, over the past 10 years, I have taken on five deer with various vehicles. Don’t get upset, the deer have about a 50 percent survival rate when competing with my car. You may wonder how I arrived at the 50 percent figure when there was an odd number of deer. That is because two got up and ran off, two never moved again and one was partially paralyzed.

So, be careful when you’re driving this time of year. The deer are out and they are too busy to notice you driving. Try to drive a little slower in areas where you know there may be deer, and keep your eyes peeled for them along the roads. This is one of the bad parts of living in a state where wildlife still abound.

Joy Larson is a mother of four boys, graduate of The University of Montana, animal lover and writer.

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