By Lynn A. Wade
Nevada Daily Mail
Deer are on the move this time of year, and it's a peak time for deer vs. vehicle crashes.
Although official statistics aren't available for this year, local officials say it seems to them the number of deer hit by vehicles is greater this year.
The Nevada Daily Mail's own delivery vehicles have struck three deer in as many months; and reports of deer strikes are common. Last year, over half of the reported deer strike crashes occurred from October through December.
Conservation Agent Justin Fogle said that deer are active now because it's mating season; bucks are paying little attention to their surroundings. "They're more active, more likely to be seen; a deer may run in front of your vehicle at any time," Fogle said. The summer drought means there are fewer acorns, so deer may be moving more to find food, Fogle said; and the fall hunting harvest was down in the area, probably due to the unusually warm weather the area's experienced for the past few weeks.
According to statistics from the Missouri State Highway Patrol, last year, Missouri had 3,563 traffic crashes where deer-vehicle strikes occurred in the first harmful event; 22 of these were in Vernon County. One deer strike occurred an average every 2.5 hours in Missouri; most happen in early morning, dusk or nighttime hours, but they can happen at any time. Although the highest number of such crashes occurred between 5 and 11 p.m., there was no time of day in which deer strikes did not occur.
Four people were killed in Missouri in deer vs. vehicle strikes.
The patrol doesn't keep statistics, though, on crashes that occur because a vehicle was trying to avoid a deer when the deer wasn't struck. Some of these crashes, the patrol notes, resulted in fatalities.
Because of that, "don't swerve," Fogle said. Although the driver might miss the deer, a severe crash could still occur.
"If you see one deer, there are probably more nearby," Fogle cautioned.