Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Deer and Motorists on the Move at the Same Time

With the days getting shorter and the whitetail rut kicking in motorists are driving to and from work at the same time deer are most active. Collisions between vehicles and wildlife are a big problem. Each year, on average, 1-2 million collisions with large animals, especially deer, end in 200 fatalities, 26,000 injuries, and costs exceeding $1 billion.

Deer see things differently, instead of tracking movement by following objects with their eyes as people do, a deer’s eyes are stationary. This allows deer to detect movement from predators that may be lurking. To a deer, a car heading into its path may only seem like an object that’s increasing in size. Deer also see less detail than humans. And a deer’s keen night vision results from an ability to take in a lot of light, which makes headlights blinding.

Dawn and dusk are active times for many wildlife species, including deer, which is the time when people are traveling to and from work this time of year. Choice deer habitat often overlaps with human travel routes, increasing the likelihood of collisions. In addition, deer movement peaks in the fall — mostly October and November — with the breeding season, called the rut.

The Forest Service produced and award-winning video entitled Avoiding Wildlife-Vehicle Collisions for their employees. The video provides information relevant to anyone who gets behind the wheel at dawn and dusk this time of year. Knowing the risk factors can help inform you how to manage your driving situations to reduce the risk of collisions with wildlife.

Revised from “Think like a deer: award-winning video aims to reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions” by Stephanie Worley Firley, Pacific Southwest Research Station, U.S. Forest Service

For additional information go to:
PA Game Commission News Release (10-31-18)

Some interesting points: 

  • A driver who hits a deer with vehicle is not required to report the accident to the Game Commission.
  • If the deer dies, only Pennsylvania residents may claim the carcass.
  • Removing antlers from road-killed bucks is illegal.
  • Antlers from bucks killed in vehicle collisions can be purchased for $10 per point.
  • To report a dead deer for removal from state roads call the PA Department of Transportation at 1-800-FIX-ROAD.

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