Hazards

Deer

Gillespie County boasts a plentiful population of deer. Though documented cases of deer/cyclist collisions resulting in life-flight trips exist in other Texas counties, none have been recorded here. Please heed the following and help keep it this way.

Two types of deer/bike altercations are most dangerous and most likely.

The first scenario puts you and/or the deer at risk. Though most locals regard them as pests, humane avoidance maneuvers are recommended. When encountering a deer standing in or near the road during a rapid approach, such as a downhill, it is best to vocalize or whistle to alert the deer to your presence. They need to find an escape route, usually over a fence, and if they don't have time to find one they may dart back across the road right in front of you or across you in a state of panic. This is risk number one when dealing with virtually all livestock. Under this scenario, they might make a desperate attempt to go through a barbed wire fence, which will result in injury to the deer or the deer becoming hung up on its hind legs. The latter result is good news for coyotes but a death sentence for the deer. When approaching deer in the road, especially when fences boarder the road, slow down so deer can escape before blind panic sets in. The desperate deer makes poor decisions and executes poorly. Given a little time, they will make a beautiful arching leap with perfect execution and all will remain in harmony. (Although the coyote may go hungry.)

The second deer scenario: the blindside, involves two or more deer. In this scenario, the first deer advances rapidly immediately in front of you, usually after jumping a barbed wire fence. Don't be startled to distraction by the first deer because generally speaking a second or third will follow, and these latter ones present the most threat to life and gear. Remember, when you spot one be alert for more and vocalize for the benefit of other riders and other deer. Then slow down, because the deer will be trying to advance in front of you, not to hit you.

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