Motorists are reminded to watch for deer along roadways, especially this time of year, because juvenile animals are dispersing from their home ranges.
Late October through early December is when deer are most active, resulting in the peak period for deer-vehicle accidents. “Motorists are advised to slow down and exercise caution after dark to reduce the likelihood of encounters with deer along roadways,” said Bill Jensen, big game biologist for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department.
Most deer-vehicle accidents occur primarily at dawn and dusk when deer are most often moving around, Jensen said. “Deer-vehicle accidents are at times unavoidable,” he added. “However, motorists should be aware of warning signs signaling deer are in the area.”
When you see one deer cross the road, Jensen cautioned, look for a second or third deer to follow. Also, motorists are urged to pay attention on roadways posted with Deer Crossing Area caution signs. “Obviously, deer are known to be crossing the road in this area,” he said, “that is why the sign is there.”
If an accident does happen, a local law enforcement agency should be contacted. Also, a permit is required to take parts or the whole carcass of a road-killed deer. Permits are free and available from game wardens and local law enforcement offices.
A few precautions can minimize chances of injury or property damage in a deer-vehicle crash.
· Always wear your seat belt.
· Don’t swerve or take the ditch to avoid hitting a deer. Try to brake as much as possible and stay on the roadway. Don’t lose control of your vehicle or slam into something else to miss the deer. You risk less injury by hitting the deer.
· If you spot deer ahead, slow down immediately and honk your horn.
· No published research supports the effectiveness of deer whistles on vehicles. Deer can’t hear ultrasonic frequencies.