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Wildlife agency has no vested interest in deer garb

As the roadkill season approaches, I have an idea that might save countless deer lives. We should fund reflective vests for the entire deer population. They can be seen more easily by the cars on the road. Of course, this may cause other issues during hunting season. – Rob

Increasing the profile of deer would certainly take the “car” out of carcass. But it’s not the only strategy out there.

Why not spend a million bucks on buried roadside sensors? When animals are nearby, flashing signs would warn motorist “Wildlife Detected.”

Oh wait. We tried this already. It didn’t work.

Here’s another idea: Let’s train wildlife to use the crosswalk.

You’re probably saying, “Action Line, you’re a dolt. We don’t have crosswalk for deer.”

But we do. All across the region, there are yellow signs with the silhouette of a leaping buck. Some of them read “Deer Xing.”

Deer need to learn here is the safe place to cross the road. Heck, we could even install a HAWK, the flashing-light thing on Camino del Rio.

HAWK stands for High-intensity Activated crossWalK. For roaming ruminants, we could call it a DEER, or Device Engineered to Eliminate Roadkill.

Our hoofed neighbors could approach the light, push the button and then cross the highway safely after cars stop.

The fact that deer don’t have fingers to push the button, plus the fact that many drivers just blow through red lights, could limit the effectiveness of the DEER crosswalk.

Be that as it may, we checked in with our good friend at Colorado Parks and Wildlife, ace spokesman Joe Lewandowski, to see if the state agency would consider outfitting deer with safety vests.

“I can say with complete certainty that there are no plans for that,” he said with a chuckle. “There just aren’t enough vests, especially the pink ones.”

“Pink?” Action Line asked incredulously.

“Pink,” Joe deadpanned. “It’s a popular color for doe,” adding that Colorado now allows “fluorescent pink” as an alternative to blaze orange for hunter safety.

By the way, the law says you can mix pink and orange in the field. However, the Fashion Police say otherwise for non-hunting situations.

With an estimated 419,000 deer in Colorado, swaddling the herd in visibility vestments would be daunting.

“The better idea would be to slow down at dawn and dusk,” Lewandowski said.

•••

The last time the Mail Culpa Mailbag had this massive a missive was when Action Line snidely suggested the ancestral Puebloans left the area because of train smoke.

But last week’s ramblings, “Squatters decamp after gremlin grumblings,” prompted one reader (now a former reader) to hurl quite the brickbat.

To review, most of the column was devoted to disparaging the hapless AMC Gremlin vehicle. Then it wrapped up by explaining that it is against city code to camp or park an RV overnight along the riverside on Roosa Avenue.

Apparently, this was deeply offensive.

Not the Gremlin bashing. It was Action Line’s temerity to simply cite a law.

The reader lambasted the column as a “real disappointment,” adding that Action Line was a “snoody, stuck-up and heartless” part of the anatomy.

“What makes you so sure that you know what’s going on in the first place anyway, you elitist (part of anatomy)?”

The reader, citing the need for human dignity, continued, “Your attitude exhibits such ignorance and judgmentalism that I have no problem judging you in response.”

Email questions to actionline@durangoherald.com or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301. You can ask for anonymity if you think deer vests would benefit from a cozy layer of fleece for warmth.