A Bend man’s weekend fishing trip turned into a chance collision with an elk Friday morning. But while it turned out badly for the animal, it could have turned out much worse for him.
Patric Douglas was passing through Sisters, heading to the coast for a weekend fishing trip, accompanied by his dog, Kodiak Blue the Wonder Dog.
“I just filled up a full tank of gas in Sisters and was all set to go for the ride. I’m there sipping coffee, listening to my morning radio, and then it all just unraveled from there,” Douglas said Tuesday.
Douglas said he was driving at the speed limit on Highway 20 near Sisters when he saw a quick flash come from his left. He said he felt a hard impact on the driver’s side of the car, causing the windshield to shatter. Then, he said, everything else became a blur.
Despite suffering minor injuries and getting glass fragments in his eye, Douglas said nothing was going to stop him from having a good salmon run on the coast.
And so, after the accident, he waited for the police report, got his car towed back to Bend, and then headed to St. Charles Bend to get his eyes irrigated. After getting glass taken out of his eye, he rented a car and once again headed for the coast.
“I thought I (would be) the last guy in the world to ever hit a deer or hit an elk, but it can happen to you,” Douglas said. “Now, when I actually see that sign that says ‘Hey, elk crossing here,’ I’ll actually start paying more attention to that.”
According to State Farm, Oregon ranks only No. 39 nationwide for the most animal collisions. There were 3,640 claims statewide in 2018.
State Farm said the months with the most likelihood of elk and deer crossings in Oregon are November, October and December. According to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, that’s due to the annual migrations from higher to lower elevations for the winter, as well as breeding times.
Douglas’ car was totaled, but he told NewsChannel 21 he has no ill feelings about what happened.
“I feel bad for the elk,” Douglas said. “I have insurance. That elk also had its morning. While I was waking up and making coffee, that elk was eating whatever it was eating.”
“It went to a good place, because some locals found it and asked me if they could have it,” to salvage as roadkill, he said. “And I said, ‘Yeah, by all means.’ I feel better about the fact the new Oregon law allows people to take it home, process it and enjoy it.”
To read our related article about ODOT’s warning during fall migrations, click here.