Truckers beware: Watch for amorous or terrified deer

| Friday, October 18, 2002

It's a sad story: The number of deer running across roads and highways greatly increases in late October through December because the animals are either looking for love or trying to avoid being shot.

For this reason, state highway patrols from California to Virginia and animal groups are warning of a greater possibility of deer-vehicle collisions now that the deer mating and hunting season is upon us.

The New York City-based Fund for Animals says drivers are five times more likely to hit a deer at the onset of the hunting season. The fund, a national animal protection group, was founded in 1967 by author Cleveland Amory.

Meanwhile, Missouri drivers last year reported 8,148 collisions - in 2000, the Missouri Highway Patrol recorded 4,600 deer-vehicle collisions. In 1925, fewer than 400 deer roamed Missouri. Today, partly because of growing suburbs, nearly 1 million whitetailed deer call the state home, AP reports.

The Fund for Animals recently issued the following safety suggestions:

Always watch for wildlife, especially at dawn, dusk, and the first few hours of darkness; be especially cautious when driving on two-lane roads and rural roads; if you see one deer cross, slow down and watch for others to follow; glance continually from the road to the roadside, looking for movement where roads are bordered by fields or natural habitat; heed deer crossing signs and reduce speed in deer "hot spots"; at night, watch for reflection from headlights in the eyes of deer; if a deer "freezes" in your headlights, turn your lights off and then on; and never swerve to avoid hitting a deer -- simply apply your brakes.

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