Be especially watchful for wildlife

 

Gary DeVon/staff photo

Gary DeVon/staff photo

Bear cubs in the vineyard, cougars strolling by, dead dear up and down the highway. While we’re bound to see more wildlife as we get into fall and winter, there’s obviously been an increase in encounters since this summer’s fires destroyed much of their habitat.

Editorial Gary MugAfter taking the family for a trip down to Enloe Dam, something I can remember doing since I was old enough to drive, we went for a short Sunday drive along the Loomis-Oroville Road. On the way back we stopped to look at a dog that was in the Similkameen. It looked like his owner was dredging for gold.

While parked on the side of the road we spotted this buck using the old irrigation canal as his personal highway. He noticed us, but he didn’t seem to be too afraid and just moseyed along as I shot off a bunch of photos. It wasn’t too far from where friends and I had seen a black bear sauntering down the road a couple years back. Charlene, at work, showed us photos of deer, including a buck, standing amongst her and her husband’s cows.

As the weather turns colder we have to start to remember to keep a keen eye out as we travel down the highway, especially in the traditional “high kill” areas like Crumbacher. But we’ve been hearing reports of a lot more road kills in all sorts of places along 97.

Be aware. Remember, no place is so important that you can’t slow down a little and keep a watchful eye out for wildlife, especially at night, and especially near Crumbacher. If there’s more than one of you in the vehicle make a game of it and have the kids help you play spot the wildlife.

I’ve hit two deer in my life, one near… you guessed it, Crumbacher and one on Steven’s Pass. The first one didn’t even dent my bumper. The second one crumpled the hood and knocked out a headlight on my father’s car. I’m glad he was with me to witness that there’s little you can do when a deer jumps from the hillside right into your path.

So as you travel, be safe and give the deer a break – unless of course it’s part of hunting season. Take care.

About Gary DeVon

Gary DeVon is the managing editor of the Okanogan Valley Gazette-Tribune and celebrated his 25th year at the newspaper in August 2012. He graduated from Gonzaga University with a degree in Communications - Print Journalism, with an emphasis in photojournalism. He is a proud alumnus of Oroville High School. His family first settled in Okanogan County in the late 1800s. His parents are Judy DeVon and the late Larry DeVon and he has two younger brothers - Dante and Michael. Many family members still call Oroville home. He has a grown daughter, Segornae Douglas and a young granddaughter, Erin.