I had a short ride on the Sportster then spent the rest of the day on the Ultra. An hour of that ride was in the dark. Sure the big HD has some decent lighting, but there were a lot of deer on the move that night. Did I have any close calls? I don't know, what do you consider close? I did have to get on the brakes once for a big buck. They don't get that big by being stupid, so when he saw me he turned and ran the other way. It's the inexperienced little ones that cause problems.
The hard part of deer avoidance isn't the act of swerving or braking. For me the hard part is the constant scanning of the road, ditches and fields. I can't scan in a continuous pattern or my eyes get goofy and I get dizzy. The reflective range of the LED headlights is pretty decent, so when I spot a sparkle that could be venison eyeball I immediately check the other side of the road for a matching sparkle. If I see one then I assume it's just a marker for a culvert. There are a lot of those around these parts. Now that I've seen the marker down range, I feel I've wasted a lot of time looking there and want to take a quick glance closer to the bike, then back down range. Left side, right side. It's tiring. What I really want to do is enjoy the night sky and search for UFOs but I don't dare release my eyes from their mission of deer patrol. Maybe it's because I hit a deer once and earned a week in the hospital that I'm so intently scanning for these forest rats.
And what about the other vermin like racoon, turkey, skunk and possum? Ya they can cause some damage but for the most part I consider them less of a threat and squishable. I don't even flinch for a rabbit or squirrel. I'd aim for crows if it weren't for the fact that they are knawing on a bony carcass that may puncture one of my officially branded Harley Davidson tires.
This may have been my last ride of any length for this season. Wet, near freezing temps and the possibility of snow and salt will keep me off the roads.
The threat of snow makes me consider trading my sportster for a snowmobile. Whatcha got?