NOVEMBER MARKS THE PEAK OF DEER-VEHICLE ACCIDENTS
Peak period of mating activity, other factors, puts deer on the move
PRATT -- Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) statistics show that November is the month when the highest number of deer-vehicle collisions occur. Motorists are encouraged to be on particularly high alert about mid-month -- historically when deer-vehicle collisions are highest. The main reason there is a greater potential for deer-vehicle accidents in November is the deer mating season, called the "rut," which peaks in mid-November.
In addition, deer tend to widen their forage range as they build up fat reserves for the winter. They often migrate from one forage range to another during the early winter, exposing themselves on highways. A reduction in daylight hours also contributes to increased deer-vehicle collisions because deer are largely nocturnal and begin moving near sunrise or sunset, when many people are commuting to and from work.
Since 2002, the number of deer-vehicle accidents in Kansas has stabilized at about 9,000 annually. In 2006, there were 9,197 deer-vehicle collisions in Kansas, slightly up from 2005 but lower than in previous years. An emphasis on harvest of antlerless deer and the availability of additional antlerless deer permits from the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks is credited with stabilizing deer numbers and reducing deer-vehicle accidents in recent years. Deer-vehicle collisions occur in every Kansas county. Usually, counties with the highest human populations record the most deer-vehicle accidents. In 2006, Johnson County had the most accidents with 363 followed by Sedgwick County with 359 and Butler County with 302.
Motorists should observe the following tips to avoid deer collisions:
- be especially watchful at dawn and dusk when deer are most active;
- deer seldom travel alone, so if one deer crosses a road, there may be others following;
- reduce speed and be alert near wooded areas or green spaces such as parks or golf courses and near water sources such as streams or ponds;
- don’t swerve to avoid a collision with a deer because most serious accidents occur when motorists are taking evasive action;
- watch for deer crossing signs and always wear a seat belt; and
- use bright lights, watch for the reflection of deer's eyes, and slow down whenever deer are spotted.
For more information, phone the Kansas Department of Transportation toll-free at 1-877-550-5368.