Lack of caution can cost drivers deerly

spectr17

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Lack of caution can cost drivers deerly.

Bridges and long, straight stretches of road are high-hazard areas.

JEFFERSON CITY – Missouri motorists should be on the lookout for hazards on four legs this time of year. According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, deer attempting to breed are on the move, and that increases the potential for deer-vehicle accidents.

The deer mating season or rut takes place September through February. Just before and during the peak of the rut in November, the urge to mate often causes deer to ignore their normal instinct to avoid traffic areas or wait until a car has passed before attempting to cross a road. This lack of caution requires motorists to adjust traveling habits to reduce the risk of deer-vehicle collisions.

Defensive driving can help prevent deer-vehicle accidents. When possible, avoid driving during the evening and early morning hours, when deer are most active. Reduce your speed and watch for deer. The sooner you see a deer, the more time you will have to react to its movements.

A recent study entitled "Factors influencing the location of deer-vehicle accidents in Iowa" showed that caution is increasingly important around bridges and in places where motorists have a clear view of the roadside. The study found that accidents increased when visibility increased along highways. The finding suggests that drivers incorrectly assumed they could safely increase their speed along straight, level highways with high visibility.

The Iowa study and several other deer-vehicle collision studies have found that caution also is needed when driving near bridges. Streams serve as funnels that channel deer across roads near bridges.

Other driving tips that can help you avoid deer-vehicle collisions are:

--Slow down immediately when you spot a deer, if you can do so without causing a traffic hazard. Do this even if the deer already has crossed the road. The animal could turn back into your path. Also, deer often travel in groups, and others may follow.

--Flash your lights or sound your horn to warn the deer of your approach. Deer often are confused by vehicle headlights.

--Use emergency flashers or pump your brakes to alert vehicles behind you to the danger ahead.

--Don't swerve wildly to avoid hitting a deer. Some of the most severe deer-related accidents happen when drivers lose control of their vehicles while trying to avoid deer. It's better to steer straight than to risk losing control or colliding with oncoming traffic or hitting trees or other objects along the side of the road.

--Report deer-vehicle accidents to local law enforcement officials. Your report will help the Missouri Department of Conservation track the incidence of such accidents.

To keep a road-killed deer for its meat you must contact the Conservation Department. The law requires written authorization from a conservation agent to possess a deer before you can take it home.

The Iowa study was published in the "Journal of Wildlife Management." The journal is a quarterly publication of the Wildlife Society. The society is an international nonprofit scientific and educational association dedicated to excellence in wildlife stewardship through science and education.

- Arleasha Mays - MDC
 

Tinhorn

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Just for general info,

I understand the Deer Xing signs are put up after there are 5 deer/car accidents at that location........
 

Chairman

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On the way home from a hunt, last year, I was re-living the hunt (already).  From out of nowhere, I looked up and saw eyeballs & antlers!  The buck was airborne - he had just jumped a fence and was clearing the ditch, when I saw him.  I did swerve to the left, to keep him from hitting the windshield - it worked.  He still rammed into the side of my truck - I was going about 55-60mph.

When I turned around, I saw where he was coming from.  There was a treeline that crossed a field - directing the buck towards the road.  At any other time, I would have saw it for what it was - a natural travel route for deer.

It's true - You have to ALWAYS be paying attention....  It only took 1 time of not doing so.

Be Careful & Have a Great (and Safe) Hunting Season

Chairman
 

spectr17

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I've had a few deer run out in front of me in Missouri, especially during the rut when the chase is on. The closest call I've had was in the Sierra mountians near Mammoth California. I was tooling along about 2 am on my way up to deer hunt, doing about 65 mph.

In one blink there was 3 deer stepping out in single file across the highway. I knew I wouldn't be able to slow in time and started looking for a place on the shoulder to try and skid to but there was deep ditches on both sides. I then aimed for the littlest deer thinkng the thud would be less. Right as  Iwas about to hit them they bolted and I missed all of them. I didn't blink the rest of my 2 hour drive.

Another time I had a lilttle spike muley jump off a cut bank above me when I was working in the mountains. I saw the shadow and thought it was a falling rock and put my arms up over my head thinking I was about to get nailed. He landed right in front of my work truck and trotted off.

I opened the door and hollered just to relieve the strain and he stopped and looked back and then just kept on trotting like he enjoyed my reaction. Where's a good hickory nut when you need one to bonk them on the head?
 
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