WDAY: The News Leader

Published November 07, 2009, 01:51 PM

Risk of car-deer collisions is up during hunting season

Deer hunting season is in full swing, which means the risk of hitting a dear with your vehicle is higher.

By: Christine Boggy, WDAZ

Deer hunting season is in full swing, which means the risk of hitting a dear with your vehicle is higher.

“The deer actually leapt about 8 feet high and threw itself on the other side of the road.”

For drivers like Mary Hanessian, it's an all too familiar case, driving down the road when suddenly a deer is in their path.

“It was very scary and we had to just pull over because we were so upset but my best friend's car was totaled when she hit a deer.”

Once harvesting is underway and they lose their places to hide, deer become more active and North Dakota sees an increase in car-deer collisions, prompting the highway patrol to warn people against swerving.

“Often cases the best thing to do is not take any quick evasive action to end up rolling over in the ditch or something worse than actually striking it.”

Tall grass and groups of trees like these can make it nearly impossible for drivers to see deer, especially at night.

“Typically in the evening we'll see a rush of crashes that occur right after dark until the first couple hours then they occur at any time at night but that seems to be the busiest time is the first couple hours after sundown.”

The North Dakota Highway Patrol has responded to 86 car-deer collisions since September 1st, and they expect that number to rise. Truck drivers like Lyle Fuglestad see deer quite frequently in the fall, and say the best thing to do is stay calm and hit your brakes as soon as possible.

“I usually see them from the side, and you react quickly, hit the breaks usually or try to slow down as fast as you can to try and avoid hitting them.”

So next time you find yourself driving down the highway and see a deer, hit your brakes, slow down and try to avoid swerving. If you do happen to hit the deer, don't touch it. Simply call authorities to come deal with the situation. You should also drive with your high beam headlights on whenever you possible to get maximum response time.