Here’s one crazy way to reduce deer-car crashes: Coat their antlers with reflective paint

That’s one way to make the roads safer.

Finnish reindeer herders paint the animals’ antlers with reflective paint so drivers will hopefully hit fewer of them, according to the website Atlas Obscura.

In the Lapland region of the country, there are tons of reindeer just roaming around, including on the roads. That’s probably a pretty impressive sight, but it also means that drivers hit around 4,000 a year.

According to Atlas Obscura, the herders have tried different ways of painting the reindeer:

Like a bike vest, the reflective paint only glows when light hits it. The [Reindeer Herder’s] Association has experimented with this strategy for several years, applying various types of paint to various reindeer parts. This year, after spray paint and fur-coating both proved lackluster, they’ve swabbed a test group of antlers with a thick brushing paint. “We have about 400 reindeer antlers painted and we will get results in a couple of months” says [Juho Tahkola of the Reindeer Herder’s Association.]

To be clear, so no one is saying that this is actually possible in Maine — although the idea of Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife biologists fanning out through the woods to paint deer’s antlers is pretty funny.

Hitting deer is, of course, very common in Maine. There were 32,704 crashes from 2004 to 2013, which works out to 3,634 a year. There were 5,501 crashes involving Moose in that same time period. There are an estimated 210,000 deer in Maine, and between 60,000 and 70,000 moose, according to the DIFW.

Check out pictures of the reflective reindeer here.

Featured article image by Larry Smith on Flickr

Dan MacLeod

About Dan MacLeod

Dan MacLeod is the editor of BDN Portland. He's an Orland native who first moved to Portland in 2002. He's been a journalist since 2008, and previously worked for the New York Post and the Brooklyn Paper.