Why Did the Deer Cross the Road?

It’s that time of year again.  Cooler temperatures, shorter days, and colored leaves are prevalent.  Autumn is my favorite.  I love pumpkin festivals and cool crisp mornings.  But there is something that happens in the fall that I don’t love, increased deer activity.

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In my youth, I was involved in two separate vehicle-deer crashes.  The first happened with my dad driving, the second with my mother behind the wheel.  It is important to note that neither deer survived.

The 2012 vehicle-deer collision report was just released by State Farm.  The report gives an estimate of 1.22 million such collisions across the country from July 2012 to June 2013 (“Downward”, 2013).  Closer to home, The Ohio Department of Public Safety reported a drop in vehicle-deer crashes in the state of 7.5 percent.  There were a total of 20,996 crashes reported in Ohio in 2012 compared to 22,696 in 2011.  Hamilton County (where I live) was third in the state with 522 reported incidents (“Downward”, 2013).  Insurance claims from crashes involving animals are 3.5 times as high in November as they are in August (“Downward”, 2013).

What is the reason for the increase?  Dear breeding season peaks in mid-November.  During the breeding season, or ‘rut’, the deer are focused on mating; they travel more than in other seasons, and pay less attention to hazards such as vehicles.  They also move because of changes in food availability and shelter due to harvest and leaves falling.  The shorter days also mean dusk and dawn (primetime for deer movement) occur when commuter traffic is heaviest (Elliott, 2013).  So, as the season changes, get out and enjoy the greatest time of the year.  But, keep your eyes peeled for our furry four-legged friends.

 

References

Downward trend in Ohio’s deer-vehicle collisions continues. (2013, October 1). Hudson Hub-Times. Retrieved from http://http://www.hudsonhubtimes.com/regional/2013/10/01/downward-trend-in-ohio-s-deer-vehicle-collisions-continues

Elliott, D. (2012, October 30). Motorists beware:  deer on the move during fall.  KRSL Russell Radio. Retrieved from http://http://www.krsl.com/local-news/1435-motorists-beware-deer-on-the-move-during-fall

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