Dan Rattiner's Stories

Deer vs. Cars: 1,200 Tracking Devices Are Expensive But Worthwhile

As everyone knows, Ferry Road in North Haven is one of the most dangerous drives in the Hamptons as far as collisions between cars and deer are concerned. Motorists worry they might miss the ferry. The road is long and straight. Yet at any moment a deer might dart out and try to cross the road in front of you.

To deal with this problem, the Village of North Haven has decided to begin a high-tech operation that will prevent accidents once and for all by making use of darts with GPS locaters on them. Also, the operation will be carried out by all the over-18 adult local residents of the Village during the next two months, before the tourist season begins.

“It will be a fun operation,” Supervisor Addison said. “And it will bring all of us residents closer together, something which has been needing to happen for some time here, to judge by the yelling matches at board meetings.”

Supervisor Addison has contracted with a little known company called the Apex Deer Dart Company, run by his daughter-in-law, which will provide dart blowguns and GPS software darts to all the citizens in North Haven. During the next two months, every citizen over the age of 18 will be required to set aside what they are doing temporarily and go out into the woods surrounding that town to blow a single dart into the rump of every deer he or she can find. The operation ends May 15.

“About 1,400 people live in North Haven in the summertime,” the Supervisor said. “And our last deer count was 800 deer. We want to be humane. We don’t want anybody, deer or human, hurt. And so tomorrow we are mailing out instruction sheets to all the residents, showing them how to use a dart blowgun. In addition, we are making a team of experts from Apex Deer Dart available every Saturday and Sunday at Town Hall on Ferry Road for hands-on instruction, including target practice on the lawn out back.”

Addison thought to provide this service when he learned about the shark-tagging operation going on at Woods Hole in Massachusetts. Sharks with these tags (behind their fin) can be tracked all up and down the East Coast every hour of the day.

His daughter-in-law, Sherry, contacted a company called the Lotex Wireless Dart Company in Newmarket, Ontario about the cost of devices currently being used to tag the rams of Western Canada so everyone knows where the rams are at all times. Buying one and figuring out how it works, she has opened a small factory here in North Haven to manufacture darts
like the ones at Lotex, but slightly different so they can’t sue her, at a price only slightly higher than Lotex’s.

“The darts are hardly felt by these animals when they hit. They stay in. Deer cannot bite their own rumps, so the tag stays. And each tag has a bright red disk the size of a silver dollar with bad-tasting glue on one side, so when the dart hits, the red disk stays glued to the hide there. It tastes bad so no deer could get another deer to bite it off. Anyway, with the red disk, residents will only dart the rumps of deer that don’t have one. Once all are darted, all accidents will be avoidable, because we’ll know where all the deer are all the time.”

Sherry has contracted with the major American car companies to modify their dashboard video software to accommodate the Apex Dart locater dots. By July, all darted deer will show up on all car dashboard screens as glowing white dots. See one on the road, slow down and pull over. Let the deer across.

According to the Supervisor, the cost of this operation will result in homeowner taxes only going up 85% next year. But sometimes you do what you hafta do.

Also, a law just enacted by the Town Board will require that anyone darting a deer in any location other than the rump is to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the endangered species laws.

“We want nothing to go wrong with this operation,” the Supervisor said, “and nothing will.”

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