Deer runs into window, dies

May 12, 2011

by Rebecca Spence, STAFF REPORTER

He turned his head just as the deer ran into the window.

“I looked across the street, right in front of the biomed building and it was jumping around the fountain park area and then it took off toward the aviation building, and hit the window. It looked like it broke its neck and it was lying on the ground kicking for 30 seconds to a minute before it stopped,” said Rob Harris, a senior chemical engineering major.

Approximately 1:15p.m. May 5, a doe ran full force in to a glass panel on the side of Davison Hall and Harris was one of many witnesses.

“We saw a maintenance truck and we flagged him down and told him what we saw,” Harris said.

The Ruston Animal Control services and Tech Police were called to take care of the doe that was found lying dead on the pavement; blood splattered around it and its tongue hanging out.

It was taken away in the back of a truck by Officer Folmer of Ruston Animal Control services in the back of his truck, with the help of Tech Police and two students.

The remains were scrubbed away by a Tech maintenance team before Officer Folmer pulled out of the parking lot with the deer.

Although a deer smashing into the side of a building in the middle of campus may seem odd, James Dickson, a professor of wildlife habitat management, forestry and graduate studies says he is not surprised it happened.

“They have done quite well in suburban situations,” he said. “There are deer populations right around here, in any wood lot during the day and then they forage at night.”

Dickson said that without hunting pressures in suburban areas, the deer are more subject to look for the artificially fertilized and nutrient-filled plants in yards around suburban areas. They are attracted to the roadside, where without shade, plants can get plenty of nutrients that deer look for.

“Deer are far more habitat flexible than we ever thought,” he said.

The deer population not only in Ruston, but in the entire South has been increasing because of the lack of population control mechanisms Dickson said.

Food supply is the variable of this, they either can find food in their natural habitats away from people and suburban areas, or they cannot, and deer have to account for this.

But when the population in suburban areas increases, the number of deer sightings and accidents occur. Dickson said this increases the number of vehicular deer accidents.

“They are the most dangerous animal in the South. More people are killed in deer collisions than any other animal in the south,” he said. “There are more than a hundred deer in this civil area that are involved in vehicular collisions every year.”

Dickson explained, although it is clear, glass is a substance that is hard to see or recognize from a deer’s vision. Many other animals, such as birds, see their reflection in the glass and simply think it is another animal, it does not occur to them that it is a solid substance.

“They run into glass plate windows and doors, they don’t recognize it as a barrier, it is not like trees or rocks or anything like that,” Dickson said.

As for why this particular doe was frolicking in the fields near Davison Hall, Dickson said it is an unusual but reasonable occurrence for younger deer. Although he did not see the deer, he imagines that it was probably still in its maturing stages.

“Immature deer are much more vulnerable,” he said. “They are just like crazy teenage boys, out running around crazy wild.”

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