That's right, ungulates—deer, elk and moose in particular—across the world are plotting the downfall of mankind. Their method of choice is slow and methodical, but effective. It requires timing, dedication and unswerving nerve and is brilliant in its simplicity: the kamikaze attack.
Somewhere deep in the forest, the ungulate leadership is busy recruiting the next wave of suicidal runners—possibly in a cave where they're wearing jaunty berets. They're sitting in a circle under the light of a contraband flashlight taken off a scared hiker one of the moose chased, convincing the new recruits that their sacrifice will help eliminate the human threat, one collision at time.
The strategy is simple: Wait next to a road in the shroud of darkness until an unwitting human approaches in a car, then dart into the middle of the road and try to look surprised. If they survive, the human drivers are then left with the lingering impression of innocence telegraphed as the headlights reflect off the kamikaze deer's big doe eyes—literally.
Humans must arm themselves with knowledge to foil this dastardly plot.
First, remember that while attacks can happen at any time, there tends to be a surge of kamikaze run-ins between October and December, when deer and elk are migrating (between training camps?).
More than 150 people are killed on average nationally during this peak attack period, according to a release sent out by Response Insurance. This also results in the deaths of 1.5 million deer.
Second, deer and elk are most active during dusk and dawn.
Third, Idaho seems to be a hot spot for the ungulate power movement. An Idaho driver has a one-in-273 chance of hitting a deer or other ungulate, according to a report issued by State Farm Insurance. A recent story in the Idaho Mountain Express noted that collisions with wildlife in the state have increased by 31.2 percent in the last five years, while the national rate has increased by 14.9 percent.
Fourth, while you may see only one, kamikaze ungulates work in herds. Try to keep an eye out for other animals if you spot one on or near the road.
Fifth, know your defenses. Knowing how to react if a four-legged freedom fighter is suddenly in front of your car can mean avoiding injury to both yourself and your vehicle. While driving, especially in wooded or agricultural areas, scan a wide swath of the road and use the brightest setting on your headlights whenever possible.
The best way to spot a deer, elk or moose early is to watch for the reflection of light in their eyes. When you see them, slow down immediately. Ungulates can be unpredictable, and may move in the same direction if you try to swerve around them. Swerving may also unwittingly take you into the path of oncoming traffic, so it's best to try to slow or stop to avoid a collision.
Also, don't be lulled into a false sense of security by deer whistles or other ultrasonic devices that can be mounted onto a car. They have never been proven to work, and we think the ungulate movement has been tipped off.
The best way to foil this evil plot is to be vigilant, slow down and be ready to react. We mustn't allow the ungulate revolution to get a foothold. We can prevent this coup attempt, one safe drive at a time.