Crash risk increases now that deer are on the move
white tailed deer photo from fws.gov
It’s the season – crop harvesting and breeding behavior have combined to ramp up the risk for crashes involving deer.
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says deer are more active in the state between mid-October and the end of November as breeding season builds to its peak.
“This creates scenarios of fast-moving, unpredictable deer crossing highways,” said a statement on the Iowa DNR website. “With crop harvest in full swing, deer are also pushed into the remaining cover.”
More vehicles are on the road at dawn and at dusk after Daylight Saving Time ends as well. This year, that happens November 3.
The DNR site says last year, nearly a quarter of all deer killed along interstates and rural highways in Iowa happened in November and 14% happened in October.
Many of those wrecks happen near where brushy or tree-lined waterways cross roads.
“Iowa’s deer herd has shrunk and the number of deer-related accidents has dropped significantly since 2003,” the DNR site said. Increased hunting is credited with reducing the herd.
The DNR statement suggests drivers keep in mind that, when you see one deer there could be a second or third nearby. They also recommend that drivers slow down and remain alert, and do not veer out of their lane of travel to avoid hitting a deer since that can cause the vehicle to crash into another vehicle, pole or culvert along the road.