Wildlife experts warn of extra deer on roadways


YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – If you are seeing a lot more deer on the roadways, chances are, you’re not alone.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources says peak mating season for deer is October through mid-November but can extend to mid-January. Most deer-vehicle crashes occur during this time.

Just last weekend, a Kentucky police officer crossed paths with a deer, and a dash camera video caught it all. The animal slammed into the hood of the car, then flipped into a road sign before hitting the ground and running off into the woods. Luckily, the officer was unharmed, but his cruiser was damaged.

And on Monday, a Wisconsin man was driving on the Pennsylvania Turnpike when a deer jumped through his windshield. He was hospitalized with severe head injuries following the crash.

First News talked with the owner of a local driving school to find out how drivers can stay safe on the roadways during deer season.

Greg Anderson owns All Star Driving School, with locations in Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties. He says there are things you can do to prevent these types of accidents from occurring.

“Slow down, slow down, slow down,” he said. “The reason why: it gives you time, and it gives them time to react.”

Anderson said drivers should take extra precautions during dusk and dawn and use their high beams as often as possible. He stressed, however, that swerving to miss a deer is the worst thing that a driver can do.

“The first instinct is to miss the first object without thinking of the second object, which is oncoming traffic,” he said.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources says the most common place to encounter a deer is in a suburban area.

“Those areas, there’s not as much hunting, or there’s no hunting at all. Those areas tend to have more deer, because they are protected in those areas, and you’re more likely to hit a deer in those areas,” said State Wildlife Director Marty Cisine.

According to claims data from insurance agent State Farm, drivers in Pennsylvania are among the most likely to be involved in a crash with a deer, elk or moose. Those odds are 1 and 70 in the state, according to the report.

Although crashes involving deer have declined in Ohio, they can be attributed to four fatalities and 798 injuries last year, according to the Ohio Department of Public Safety, which recorded 19,705 deer-versus-vehicle crashes during that time.

Nationwide, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety estimates about 200 fatalities are caused by deer-vehicle collisions each year.

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