Be alert for deer on roadways

Deer migration and mating season, known as ?the rut,? has begun. In Kansas the season runs from October through December with the peak occuring within the first two weeks of November, said Matt Farmer, public lands wildlife biologist technician with Kansas Wildlife and Parks.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety estimates more than 1.5 million deer-vehicle collisions each year nationally. In 2006, Marion County contributed 94 accidents to the national total.

While deer-vehicle collisions can occur at any time during the year, the majority of accidents occur during ?the rut.?

?The deer are more active and moving,? Farmer said. ?The bucks are chasing does pretty heavy and they?re moving from their summer habits to their fall and winter

?That?s the biggest reason you get a lot of car-deer collisions is because of ?the rut,? because they?re really moving around this time of year.?

Deer are more active during dusk, from sundown to midnight, and dawn, from 4 a.m. to sunrise, Farmer explained. Deer are less active during the daytime as well as early morning, 1 a.m. to 3 a.m.

Deer also tend to be more active before or during a cold front, or any kind of low pressure system.

There are several tips to help keep drivers safe during ?the rut,? Farmer said.

n Slow down, especially at dusk and dawn.

n Keep an eye on the ditches.

n Drive in the center of rural roads to have a little extra space, provided there is no oncoming traffic.

n Don?t swerve to miss a deer.

?People get in some pretty bad accidents if a little deer jumps out in front of you and you swerve,? Farmer said.

?You could wind up really hurting yourself. Sometimes it?s better just to hit the animal?? it?s a little bit safer that way.?

n If you hit a deer, contact the local sheriff or police department.

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