Drivers cautioned during deer mating season
Drivers, look out: Kansas deer are on the move and looking for mates.
Mid-October through Thanksgiving is prime mating season for deer, says Mike Miller, chief of information operations for the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks.
Miller said the mating season, known as the “rut,” is marked by greater activity in deer and a change in their overall thought process, which can be risky for drivers.
“Bucks are so focused on does, and the does are focused on getting away,” Miller said. “They lose that wariness and caution, and don’t notice the vehicles.”
Additionally, deer are most active during the prime commuting times of dusk and dawn; the combination of distracted animals and fast cars can be deadly, Miller said.
“Drivers should use caution. Often, the driver watches the doe and does not see the buck following, and the buck is so focused it can run into the car,” Miller said. “Always assume there’s another deer coming behind it.”
To avoid a deer-vehicle collision, the Kansas Insurance Department suggests the following.
• Stay alert, wear seat belts and drive at a sensible speed for conditions.
• Watch for the reflection of eyes and deer silhouettes on the shoulder.
• Do not rely on devices such as deer whistles, fences and reflectors to deter deer.
• At night, use high-beam headlights when there’s no oncoming traffic. High beams will help illuminate eyes of deer by the road.
• If a deer enters or approaches your path, brake firmly but stay in your lane. Many more serious accidents occur when drivers swerve to avoid a deer and hit other vehicles or lose control of their cars.
• If you see one deer, assume there are more nearby.
• If you do hit a deer, immediately report it to law enforcement if the deer is blocking the roadway and poses a danger to other motorists. If you’re unsure whether the animal is dead, keep your distance, as an injured wild animal with sharp hooves can inflict serious injury.