Animal strikes and brush bars


Expedition Leader
Amazing you walked away. The safety of those early trucks was pretty abysmal.
Yep, that was one of the first Tacomas ('95.5) and you can seen where the roof buckled inward and the front tire pushed up into the footwell. As noted, one of the worst places to get hit. I'm very lucky my left foot didn't go under the clutch or brake pedal. The driver's door was stuck; I kicked the passenger door open. I had some cuts and bruises and was sore but that was basically it. Ironically, the other driver's seat belt was one of the very few I've ever cut in over twenty years of EMS.

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Hillbilly of Leisure
I think it depends on if you like (and want to keep) your rig...or if you want an insurance company to buy you another one after a serious strike (sans all your uber-expensive camping gear).

I hit an elk once at 70 MPG in a full-sized Dodge diesel truck. I had a bull-bar and went over the beast, but the steering linkage was screwed up in a major way and no matter how much the insurance company spent, nor how many times I let that truck set for a week with the was never the same again. In short, they just couldn't fix it. I had to let the truck go at a loss. I bought that truck for $50G and only recouped $30K after 2 years.

The insurance guy said that they would pay to replace aftermarket grills after a strike because they were often much cheaper than a strike that had no aftermarket protection.

Thank goodness I haven't had a strike in over 15 years. I think that my little Jeep wouldn't survive one.

If you are worried about it, get the biggest, baddest grill guard that you can and hope for the best. Won't always save you though. When I'm driving in the dark (which almost never happens) I drive slowly, pay attention, and don't take risks. Nothing wrong with 45 MPG at night on remote roads if it keeps you from fighting with an insurance company for 12 months.


Expedition Leader
Did they check your frame for straightness @jacobconroy? That's the problem with putting a bumper that is stronger than the support I suppose. I'm under no illusion that my ARB is probably more substantial then the Tacoma frame. It strengthens it to some extent but can't work miracles.

FWIW the question my passengers and me surviving, followed by the drivability fo the truck. It's not strictly about the truck coming out of a collision with a deer unscathed, which would be a nice bonus.
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Curtis in Texas

Just had a accident in my Dodge 2500 Ram with a Ranch Hand Brush Guard. My 3 rd actually.
The first was a bail of hay that fell off the top of a hay trailer load that was coming at me at 60 mph. I was doing 60 too.
So it hit at 120 mph. The hay bail exploded. No damage to anything other than the need to pick the straw out of the grill

And another time I came into play when a 19 yo kid in a Ford Crew Cab pickup pulled out in front of me. I was doing 45 and him 5 mph. No time to stop and no where to swerve! The Ford was totaled. His bumper hit my hood and tweaked my left headlight guard a little. We pulled it back in place. Could have killed the grill, front bumper, Intercooler, radiator, both front fenders and the hood.
Pretty much should have totaled the truck.

Then a few weeks back I had to dodge an oncoming car that was driving way too fast through a parking lot and almost ran into me head on. I swerved enough he didn't make contact with me, but I ended up running into a short security post right at the left headlight.
It was short so I never saw it below the hood line of sight. A new left fender and left guard wing and I'll be good.

Anyone of the 3 wrecks should have totaled out my pristine 2000 Ram Quad cab. But 250,000 miles and it still looks and drives like a new truck.

I'll be keeping my Ranch Hand Brush Guard. My bodyman say not to go to a full on steel Ranch Hand Bumper because of their weight on the front end is too much for the Cummins powered Dodge. Going to rebuild the damagd brush guard wing and hope it's the last time. We have a lot of white tail deer out here so it's a necessay piece of equipment.

My lifted 4X4 front bumper would kill a cow. Solid as the day is long. But, it was designed to go nose first into a rock gully with nothing more than a scratch on the paint..
The Crack in Moab is one of my favorite obstacles.

I won't go without one.


Ive seen first hand incidents like those posted above. Scary stuff. But a fact of life living in such an area.
Deer, elk, moose typically get sent right thru the windshields of lower slung vehicles, often killing the occupants.

I have no doubt that the big ARB on my Superduty would hold up to a deer or elk at speed.
Moose? Perhaps. But I wouldn't bank on it. At least it sits tall, making windshield shots less likely.

Even if it cannot perform miracles to save the truck, it sure the hell gives the wife and I a better chance if/when we hit something.



I wish ARB made a bumper for my 2013 F150. I like the way they look, but not the Ranch Hand ones. Honestly, not a fan of anything I've seen on the same year model truck actually.
I've been looking at Buckstop for a gaurd. I've heard good things. I have a buddy who center lined a hog with his F350. Ranchhand equipped. Doing 60mph. He had a tusk embedded in the damn bumper but his truck was just fine.


Son had an f150 with a Ranch Hand replacement bumper. He hit an elk in Idaho on the passenger side front at about 50mph. Annihilated the elk but just pushed the bumper in enough to be about an inch away from the body. No body damage, not even to the headlight. That is what they are built for and in my opinion, the best on the market for this purpose.
Ideally I'd like an ARB full gaurd with my F150 with the bars that protect the front fenders and integrate into the sliders/steps. That is the look I like. I'll probably have to have it custom fabbed.. Nothing like that in this market for a 2015 f150

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Hit a deer few years back in my 2000 Isuzu Trooper at about 60 MPH. It was a late night and I had no time to react. Got outside, only slight damage to hood, grill and offroad lights. Other than that, got back in the truck and drove home. All thanks to ARB. When I got my Ram of course one of the first things was an ARB bumper.
Here are few pics; my Trooper with ARB after the accident, green Trooper without brush guard after a striking a deer, and of course the Ram.


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Expedition Leader
I notice most of these types of bars deflect the object upwards and over the hood of the vehicle, directly into the path of the windshield with hopes of clearing the hood. A good reference of this is the deputy's vehicle pictured above.

What about if the object was deflected downward and under? I realize do so on typical on-highway vehicles with average ride height would result in loss of vehicle control. More of a chance of losing control going under vs over the top. BUT what about those vehicles with higher ground clearance?

Those top bars are 2.5 inches and are leaned forward.
This is to do with pedestrian safety and not the vehicles ability to survive an animal strike.

Checkout this as a reference as to what has been deemed suitable for bullbar construction in Australia. (NSW).