With deer and other wildlife causing concern on roads in East Gippsland, drivers are being warned to drive with caution.
Jenni Bartlett, who lives in Orbost and works in Bairnsdale, and her son, Reuben Maynard, are among the locals to experience in recent times the damage a deer can cause, and the significant fright they can instill. As reported in last week’s Snowy River Mail, the local taxi service is currently being assisted by Lakes Entrance Taxis after a deer on the Marlo Road wiped out its vehicle.
“I hit a deer on the Princes Highway near Simpsons Creek, just 10km west of Orbost, on July 24,” Jenni said.
“I wasn’t speeding and hit it doing around 95km/hr. I didn’t see it, it just came out so quickly, and I never had a chance to brake.”
Jenni and 16-year-old Reuben were heading to Melbourne and then Tasmania to see Reuben’s dad, Elliott, who at the age of 48 had a stroke. With no serious injuries, though Reuben broke his thumb and Jenni received bruising and whiplash, the pair was able to continue on their journey by train the next day, making it to Tasmania in time for Reuben to see his father before he died as a result of the stroke.
The car, however, was a right off.
All the airbags were activated and the front passenger side was staved in.
“Thankfully it was a doe we hit,” Jenni said.
“If it had been anything bigger, well, I think we’re lucky to be alive.
“There was already one deer there by the road that had been hit earlier.” Jenni said she was appreciative of the truck driver who provided assistance and the car drivers who offered the same.
“A glass company truck driver, I think his name was Brett, checked we were okay and called the tow truck,” she said.
“Three other drivers were concerned we were okay too. It was nice that they did that and I thank them.”
Jenni was surprised as it was not dawn or dusk when the car was hit.
“It was 7.45pm, so well and truly dark. The deer are about no matter what time of day it is,” she said.
“I don’t see why they can’t cull the deer. Or like in other parts where they have built fences to keep kangaroos off the road.”
She’s hoping something tangible comes from the Victorian Deer Management Strategy, which is currently being developed by Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, Parks Victoria, Game Management Authority and other partner agencies.
The coordinated and strategic approach to deer management will outline how the economic, environmental and social impacts of deer will be managed across the state while maintaining sustainable hunting opportunities. It is expected to be released later this year.
In the meantime drivers are urged to take extra care on the roads, regardless of the time of day.
“Locals are aware of the hotspots for deer, but it shows you can never be too careful,” Jenni said.
PICTURED: Jenni Bartlett’s car is a right off after it hit a deer on the Princes Highway recently.