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Deer collisions expected to peak in October and November in 2022

It's that time of year when deer-related collisions increase across Wisconsin.
Maine Daily Life Deer
Posted at 10:33 AM, Oct 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-14 11:33:25-04

HARTFORD, Wis. — It's that time of year when deer-related collisions increase across Wisconsin. Although it's hard to predict where you might run into a deer, there are things you can do to stay vigilant. According to the Wisconsin DNR, there are many reasons why collisions tend to peak in October and November. One is changes in their behavior.

"In regards to the breeding season, also known as the rutt, so deer are more active during the day," said Bret Owsley, District Wildlife Supervisor at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Deer tend to be most active during dawn and dusk. With a high deer population and with less daylight when people are commuting, a collision can happen anywhere from the rural roads to the interstate.

"It's darker out. Visibility is decreased so we end up having more collisions," said Owsley.

For Hugh Jones, a resident in West Bend, he said he has hit many deer while traveling out on Wisconsin roads.

"Stay focused and don't panic after it happens. It can be very nerve-racking," said Jones.

He said his best advice for drivers is to simply pay attention.

"You just have to be very careful in rural areas. You know where the brush is real high on either side of the road. It’s just being cautious and not being distracted while you’re driving," said Jones.

Here are some tips from WisDOT to help avoid a crash with a deer:

  • Slow down, eliminate distractions, and make sure all vehicle occupants are buckled up. There are fewer, less severe injuries from crashes when all vehicle occupants wear safety belts.
  • ​Be especially vigilant in early morning and evening hours when deer are most active.
  • If you find a deer looming in your headlights, don't expect it to move away from the roadway.
  • If a collision with a deer is unavoidable, brake firmly and stay in your lane. Do not swerve.
  • Swerving can confuse the deer as to where it should run and can also cause you to lose control of your vehicle, resulting in a more serious crash.
  • If you are operating a motorcycle, slow down, brake firmly and then swerve if necessary, to avoid hitting the deer. Try to stay within your lane if possible, to avoid hitting other objects or vehicles.
  • Headlights can confuse a deer and cause the animal to freeze.
  • Brake firmly when you notice a deer in or near your path.
  • One long blast from your vehicle's horn may frighten the deer to run away.
  • If you see one deer, watch for more. Deer seldom run alone.

If you hit a deer:

  • Get your vehicle safely off the road, if possible, and call law enforcement.
  • Be prepared to describe your location to assist law enforcement.
  • Stay buckled up inside your vehicle. Walking along the highway is very dangerous as you could be struck by another vehicle.
  • Do not attempt to move an injured deer.
  • Crash reporting can be found on WisDOT's website.