Wednesday, April 23, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Deer fencing and tunnel

EDITOR:

On Dec. 31, 2007 our son was involved in an accident with a deer on Highway 50 between El Dorado and Greenstone Roads. Another car was beside him as a large buck suddenly ran into his lane. Only through his knowing not to swerve and good fortune was a terrible accident avoided.

With the emergency flashers of his disabled car going on one side of the lanes and the emergency flashers of the car that had been next to him on the other side of the lanes, our son pulled the dead deer off of Highway 50. Everyone was in such an apparent hurry to get to their New Year’s Eve parties that they ignored the flashers and did not slow, flinging car debris onto our son while he made sure other cars didn’t have an accident avoiding the large carcass.

At the time we mentioned to the CHP officers the deer fencing programs in Colorado that have had great success in reducing deer/vehicle incidents. We have never been happier to see a proactive step taken to avoid further deer-related accidents, and we have followed with interest the articles and letters in the newspaper regarding the deer fence and tunnel project. It has been a disappointment to read so many negative opinions.

To Mr. Clemens’ letter of July 31, 2013, we would ask him to be patient. Experts on the project stated that it would probably take a couple of years for the deer to learn to use the tunnel. In the meantime, we are sure that smaller animals are having a more successful venture under the highway than they were when going across it. Even if deer are not using the tunnel, the fence is turning them away and we have noticed much less carnage in the area. We hope that as funds permit other areas will be similarly fenced.

In the meantime, more deer crossing signs and reduced nighttime speeds, backed up by double fines, is being somewhat effective in Colorado, and that might be helpful in certain areas along Highway 50. We are thinking the highway between Camino and Placerville might be a good place to start. At all that cost? Yes.

You see it isn’t just about the cost per deer, it is also about the eventual costs in vehicle damage (our car repair was $10,000) and human injuries and fatalities. There is no price that can be put on that.

CINDY AND GEROLD MERKER
Camino

Letters to the Editor

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Discussion | 9 comments

  • robertdnollAugust 19, 2013 - 11:44 am

    perfectly stated,I am glad your son is safe.Your husband,your son and yourself deserve kudos

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  • cookie65August 23, 2013 - 5:46 am

    Great job teaching your son not to swerve to avoid a deer. You next lesson for him is to never ever step onto the freeway at night to remove anything.

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  • MartinAugust 23, 2013 - 7:47 am

    It really make me happy to see that someone likes a tunnel that is not working, the deer are never going to use it. A better alternative to spending quantities of money on deer is to spend it on bike lanes and sidewalks; some roads that have schools on them don’t even have sidewalks, why in the world deer crossings take precedence over our children’s safety?

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  • Fran DuchampAugust 23, 2013 - 8:10 am

    The money for these kind of programs should go to fire prevention and forest management--it would probably save many more deer and wildlife being destroyed as we speak by the huge fires.

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  • Fran DuchampAugust 23, 2013 - 8:12 am

    State of emergency declared as Yosemite-area wildfire triples in size Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/weather/2013/08/23/yosemite-area-wildfire-triples-in-size/#ixzz2cnzwcDDf

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  • robertdnollAugust 23, 2013 - 10:22 am

    how can you read this story and still believe that this tunnel was installed to protect deer?

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  • Kristy CrowderAugust 23, 2013 - 10:53 am

    I'm so glad your son is ok. But the tunnel is stupid. A deer fence is much cheaper, just needs to go farther. The deer will learn other routes to get where they are going, I do know this as my neighbor's and I have been putting up deer fencing for the last few years and they have been re-routed perfectly. We now have gardens and the deer are still around. Yes, some get hit on the road, but you can only do so much. You are never going to slow down the Tahoe traffic, coming or going, especially on a week end. Whether you hit a deer going 40 mph or 65 on a busy highway, it still can cause a tragic accident.

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  • Kevin YoungAugust 23, 2013 - 7:47 pm

    Glad that your son was OK. Still, it's a lot of money to spend. I'd be interested to know if anyone is monitoring whether it's even being used.

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  • Jack MartinAugust 25, 2013 - 9:08 pm

    I'm happy to know your son was not killed in the reported episode. I am caused to wonder, however, how many MORE lives could be saved by using the $1.7M total spent on the deer tunnel for numerous, small safety improvements on area highways and byways. The deer tunnel was unnecessary, exorbitantly expensive and was built absent of any public outcry for its construction.

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