With deer becoming increasingly active, and daylight saving time soon to put more vehicles on the road during the hours when deer move most, the Pennsylvania Game Commission is advising motorists to slow down and stay alert.
Deer become more active in autumn with the lead-up to their fall breeding season, commonly referred to as the “rut.” Around this time, many yearling bucks disperse from the areas in which they were born and travel, sometimes several dozen miles, to find new ranges. Meanwhile, adult bucks more often are cruising their home ranges in search of does.
Add to this the fact autumn sees a number of people taking part in outdoor activities that might flush deer from forested areas or briar thickets, and that deer are more actively feeding to store energy for winter months, and it quickly becomes evident why motorists might be more likely to encounter deer on roads.
When daylight saving time ends Nov. 6, there also will be increased vehicular traffic between dusk and dawn –the peak hours for deer activity.
Drivers can reduce their chances of collisions with deer by staying alert and better understanding deer behavior. Motorists are urged to pay particular attention while driving on stretches marked with “Deer Crossing” signs.
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. To do so, they must call the Game Commission region office representing the county where the accident occurred and an agency dispatcher will collect the information needed to provide a free permit number, which the caller should write down.
Those taking possession road-killed deer also are advised of rules related to chronic wasting disease (CWD) that prohibit the removal of high-risk deer parts –essentially the head and backbone –from any established Disease Management Area (DMA). For DMA maps, the complete list of high-risk parts and other information on CWD, visit the Game Commission’s website at www.pgc.pa.gov.
To report a dead deer for removal from state roads, motorists can call the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation at 1-800-FIX-ROAD.
Tips for motorists Don’t count on deer whistles
or deer fences to deter deer from crossing roads. Stay alert.
Watch for the reflection of deer eyes and for deer silhouettes on the shoulder of the road. If anything looks slightly suspicious, slow down.
Slow down in areas known to have a large deer population; where deer-crossing signs are posted; places where deer commonly cross roads; areas where roads divide agricultural fields from woods; and in forested areas between dusk and dawn.
Deer do unpredictable things. Sometimes they stop in the middle of the road when crossing. Sometimes they cross and quickly re-cross back from where they came. Sometimes they move toward an approaching vehicle. Slow down; blow your horn to urge the deer to leave the road. Stop if the deer stays on the road; don’t try to go around it.