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