main banner

Thursday, October 18, 2012

DeerDeter system prevents deer-vehicle collisions

Dead deer on the side of Gallows Road, Annandale, inside the beltway.


With deer-vehicle collisions a growing problem in Fairfax County,  a non-profit group called 21st Century Deer Management is teaming up with a private company to urge the county to adopt a humane, high-tech system to keep deer off the roads.

So far, in 2012, there have been at least 90 collisions involving animals, mostly deer, in Fairfax County. Deer rutting season is underway in October and November, so the deer will be more active over the next few weeks, and drivers need to be especially alert for deer in the roads.

DeerDeter
Ed Mulka of Jafa Technologies, the distributor of DeerDeter has offered the system to the county for a “drastically reduced cost” if the county can submit data to the company on the effectiveness of the system. He has presented the proposal to at least one of the county supervisors but hasn’t heard back yet.

The DeerDeter system consists of a series of small, solar-powered devices attached to poles along a road. They would be automatically activated when it starts to get dark, the time when deer are most active and are harder to see. Oncoming headlights would set off a strobe light and whistle that would distract a deer heading for the road until the car has passed.

Deer can become mesmerized or blinded by bright steady lights, so the flashing lights are effective in deterring them from crossing the street. In fact, if you see deer in the road, the county recommends flashing your headlights.

The DeerDeter devices are $150 each, and you need 70 per mile. The newest models are one-third the size of the original and cost just $50 each. They can communicate with one another and to an operator. They send a signal via cell phone if a unit is missing or damaged. A unit that is stolen can send a signal showing its location.

The DeerDeter System only goes so far, however. It addresses the problem of deer-vehicle collisions, not the larger issue of deer overpopulation.

Deer spotted in Green Spring Gardens this week.
21st Century Deer Management and other wildlife protection advocates have been urging the county to abandon its bowhunting program to reduce the deer population, which the groups view as inhumane, ineffective, and a danger to people in parks.

The bowhunting season started Sept. 15 and runs through Feb. 9, 2013. Approved groups of hunters are authorized to use archery to kill deer in designated county parks. The only location where bowhunting is permitted in the Annandale area is Wakefield Park.

2 comments:

  1. Re the statement: The bowhunting season started Sept. 15 and runs through Feb. 9, 2013. Approved groups of hunters are authorized to use archery to kill deer in designated county parks. The only location where bowhunting is permitted in the Annandale area is Wakefield Park."

    That's true for public lands, but private property owners (Lafayette Village, for example) have the right to contract out deer population control to private Archery Clubs.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Why kill when you can distract?

    ReplyDelete