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Doe-Crazy Deer Put Drivers at Risk During the Fall

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Greene Insurance

Late October, November and early December are when you are most likely to have a collision with a deer.

There are over two million deer-vehicle collisions every year in the United States. That is 5,480 per day. However, if you take into account that over 75% of deer-vehicle collisions take place in the fall the number could be estimated to 16,666 deer-vehicle collisions per day!

Moon phases, shorter days and climatic changes cause male deer to enter what is known as the rut. This is a time when male deer have one thing on their mind – breeding. Male deer and other antlered animals will roam far and wide in search of female deer that are ready to be bred. This desire is so overwhelming in male deer that they often lose their fear of roadways and noise and throw caution to the wind. Their complete preoccupation with breeding causes them to act in ways that put them at great risk, such as standing in, or crossing, roadways.

Every year, deer cause over four billion dollars in damages to vehicles. The average deer-vehicle collision cost $8,388 and moose-vehicle collisions cost an average of $30,773. Personal injury results in over 5% of these collisions and occasionally can cause fatalities.

Dead deer lying on roadways often cause additional animal-vehicle collisions when scavengers such as coyotes, bears or buzzards are in the road picking at the dead deer and get hit by a vehicle.

In Utah, the Department of Transportation hires contractors to cover as much as 1,700 miles of roadway each in order to pick up deer and animal carcasses on the road. Sometimes there is so much work that a pick-up truck cannot hold all the carcasses. While deer sized animals may weigh up to 200 pounds, a moose can weigh 1,000 pounds. These large animals also require special equipment to pick them up off the roadway.

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Focusing on Wildlife

Utah Wildlife Researcher, Dan Olson, created an app to track the deer and animals lying in roadways. Using smartphones, the contractors can get coordinates where the kills are, enter data about the animal and quickly move to the next pickup. The app saves over 150 hours from the old method of compiling paperwork, making data entries and transcribing paper records into databases. It has also proven to be a more accurate system of recoding the collisions.

Motorists can purchase the AvoiDeer app and help document road-kill that they observe. The app will also alert you when you are driving towards a location known for a large number of animal-vehicle collisions or an area where a lot of road-kill has been reported.

There are some products available that are supposed to warn deer of your oncoming vehicle. Sold as “deer alerts” or “deer sirens,” these can be manual or electronic devices that send a tone that is audible to the animal to scare them out of the way.

So as fall comes slowly to an end, watch out for horny deer who won’t care about a fast moving vehicle coming their way if there is a doe across the street.

Deer Crossing warning sign on road

 

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Doe-Crazy Deer Put Drivers at Risk During the Fall