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Deer Whistles.....

I think it’s probably about a 50-50 split, of people who either believe that they do what they say they do, or they don’t believe it at all.

The premise is, that deer whistles, mounted strategically on a vehicle, in an area where deer tend to jump out in the road, make a sound that only the deer can hear, and it scares them away so you’re not likely to hit them.

I happen to have a brother-in-law who is a very educated man, who insists that the high frequency that flows through the whistle when it is exposed to 30 miles an hour or faster, is heard by deer that are in the area, and they will run away from the sound; and so he encouraged me to buy a set, which I did, and then he bought me an additional set for my birthday; so I ended up with two sets.

I mounted one set to the front end of my jeep, and the other set to the sidecar, attached to my motorcycle.

All I can tell you so far, is that I have seen no deer in my travels down back country roads were deer are plentiful. I don’t know if it’s because of the whistle; I just know I didn’t see any deer! (lol)

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It is my opinion that deer can and do get used to anything. My friend who works nights at a rural post office in the county where deer are probably one of the most plentiful places in the USA, has hit several with these whistles installed. That said, I don't think are useless per se; I think deer who are not used to them tend to shy away. Night after night of them hearing the same sound, around the same time, when they are near the same spot, I think they get used to it and ignore it, just as they ignore car engine/tire noise, or loud bike noise, or pretty much anything else they are regularly exposed to.

Thing is, you can't tell if these deer are the ones my friend has already acclimated to these noises. There's no way of knowing if they're used to it. If they aren't, it's my opinion they work marginally well, with no proof whatsoever of that claim. If they are, they don't work at all. However- on the off chance they do work for deer that are about to run front of YOU- it might be worth it. Personally, I don't run in deer country that much away from home. I do all the time back & forth to work, and I don't think it would work long before they got used to the noise, so I tend to try and watch out. Not the best solution, I know, but now you have my 2 cents. 🙂

this is just an observation derived from true facts that I was personally involved in.
one of our customers had tractors and pulled tanks with Haz. materials, they ran mostly at night and in the early morning hours to avoid as much traffic as possible
They also ran a lot of back roads rather than highways, due to this they had a pretty good amount of deer hits. A decision was made and we installed deer whistles on all the trucks in our branch
during the 1 year after installing the whistles the deer strikes literally doubled, we were told to remove them after the 1 year and the deer hits went back down
Now I'm not saying the whistles don't work but sometimes startling deer on the side of the road with a sound they can't really tell where it's coming from is not the best idea in the world

Many times reputable originations such as motorcycle consumer news have debunked their usefulness. A friend of mine David Hough (he wrote the "yellow book" and many other motorcycle books) likes to say that he does not know if they work however he does know elephant whistles must work as having them on his bike he has never even seen an elephant on the road riding in the USA.
Jay G
DMC sidecars

AJ1200 - 3/19/2018 6:57 AM

this is just an observation derived from true facts that I was personally involved in.
one of our customers had tractors and pulled tanks with Haz. materials, they ran mostly at night and in the early morning hours to avoid as much traffic as possible
They also ran a lot of back roads rather than highways, due to this they had a pretty good amount of deer hits. A decision was made and we installed deer whistles on all the trucks in our branch
during the 1 year after installing the whistles the deer strikes literally doubled, we were told to remove them after the 1 year and the deer hits went back down
Now I'm not saying the whistles don't work but sometimes startling deer on the side of the road with a sound they can't really tell where it's coming from is not the best idea in the world

This is exactly what I found out. Now I never hit a deer but the close encounters were a lot more with those useless whistles. Most of the roads I ride are in the mountains and are back roads where there are lots of deer and elk and neither one of them are nocturnal like in some places. I took those whistles off after one season and through them in the trash.

jaydmc - 3/19/2018 7:25 AM

Many times reputable originations such as motorcycle consumer news have debunked their usefulness. A friend of mine David Hough (he wrote the "yellow book" and many other motorcycle books) likes to say that he does not know if they work however he does know elephant whistles must work as having them on his bike he has never even seen an elephant on the road riding in the USA.
Jay G
DMC sidecars

That's pretty funny 🙂 I live just north of Woodland, Wa. Up here on Green Mountain there was a place called the Elephant Farm. It was where the Portland , Oregon zoo sent the injured or sick elephants for rehab. So when you road the back roads around the elephant farm with whistles on you bike there were always elephants to be seen...... so I can say that the deer whistles did not scare elephants and we used to see them all the time. Good thing they were behind a fence. hahahahahaha. I kid you not though. The elephant farm was real. 🙂

Bone - 3/19/2018 1:26 PM

jaydmc - 3/19/2018 7:25 AM

Many times reputable originations such as motorcycle consumer news have debunked their usefulness. A friend of mine David Hough (he wrote the "yellow book" and many other motorcycle books) likes to say that he does not know if they work however he does know elephant whistles must work as having them on his bike he has never even seen an elephant on the road riding in the USA.
Jay G
DMC sidecars

That's pretty funny 🙂 I live just north of Woodland, Wa. Up here on Green Mountain there was a place called the Elephant Farm. It was where the Portland , Oregon zoo sent the injured or sick elephants for rehab. So when you road the back roads around the elephant farm with whistles on you bike there were always elephants to be seen...... so I can say that the deer whistles did not scare elephants and we used to see them all the time. Good thing they were behind a fence. hahahahahaha. I kid you not though. The elephant farm was real. 🙂

LOL That's hilarious. I like Dave Hough, read most of his books (the yellow one is in my tool box right now in fact).
Once, when we going to a safari park, I called the insurance to ask if full coverage covered if an elephant sat on the car (they didn't allow motorcycles). They hung up on me... LOL
Seriously though, guys, thanks. I didn't think I wanted them, now I'm sure I don't. 🙂

Bone said: "............I live just north of Woodland, Wa. Up here on Green Mountain there was a place called the Elephant Farm. It was where the Portland , Oregon zoo sent the injured or sick elephants for rehab. So when you road the back roads around the elephant farm with whistles on you bike there were always elephants to be seen...... so I can say that the deer whistles did not scare elephants and we used to see them all the time. Good thing they were behind a fence. hahahahahaha. I kid you not though. The elephant farm was real."

I thought that elephants frequency range was really LOW, (unlike deer, which have a high-pitched squeal reply and response). I wouldn't EXPECT an elephant to respond to a deer whistle!

soupy1957 - 3/20/2018 4:19 PM

Bone said: "............I live just north of Woodland, Wa. Up here on Green Mountain there was a place called the Elephant Farm. It was where the Portland , Oregon zoo sent the injured or sick elephants for rehab. So when you road the back roads around the elephant farm with whistles on you bike there were always elephants to be seen...... so I can say that the deer whistles did not scare elephants and we used to see them all the time. Good thing they were behind a fence. hahahahahaha. I kid you not though. The elephant farm was real."

I thought that elephants frequency range was really LOW, (unlike deer, which have a high-pitched squeal reply and response). I wouldn't EXPECT an elephant to respond to a deer whistle!

Geeeeze.....you are way to serious man !!!

I have never seen so dump deer like in Oregon and Washington state.
European deer are way smarter. Although there deer accidents happen frequently too, but there the deer will not slip or cross in zick zack in front of you.
But in Costa Rica the deer even are still smarter, the few that are left will not even get close to the roads, they avoid humans and human constructions like a pest. Too many poachers are hunting them.

The few deer wistles I saw on German and Costarrican bikes were all on Harleys. Not because of the deer nor superstition, but due to folcloric reasons.
I once pulled a deer's front leg out of the mufflers of a 4 cylinder bike.
Comment of all 3 of us at the police station. "the reason of the guy's saviour was his speed!"
At 160kmh / 100mph he parted the deer in half. At any speed slower he and the bike would have got parted.

Wistles are superstition, so get your salt for to avoid the hares and rabitts too.
I for my turn go off the throttle in deer and bore area, because i presented the night before the blood covered guy stepped into the police station, a cow crossing at 10 pm a well known deer and elk (Hirsch) cross. A cow or bore would not get parted in half at any speed.
Long time ago and still present in my memory and riding habits.
Sven