Officials: Beware of deer this fall

ATLANTA – Georgia authorities are urging motorists to be cautious of deer this fall.

“Some Georgia motorists may only expect deer to cross rural roadways, while in fact, urban and suburban roads are also prime areas for deer-car collisions,” Don McGowan, a biologist for the state’s Wildlife Resources Division, said in a news release. “Hunting is oftentimes mistakenly blamed for increased deer-car collisions in autumn when, in reality, deer are on the move due to a series of both natural and human causes.”

Officials also note that deer are most active at dawn and dusk and estimate there are 50,000 deer-vehicle collisions in Georgia every year.

Authorities are urging motorists to remember that deer, as is the case with all animals, are unpredictable and where there is one deer, there are likely to be others. If a deer-vehicle collision is imminent, officials also say motorists should try to minimize damage by slowing down as much as possible.

The Wildlife Resources Division offered the following tips:

  • Unpredictable: Always remember deer are wildlife and therefore, can be unpredictable. A deer calmly standing on the side of a road may bolt into or across the road rather than away from it when startled by a vehicle.
  • One Deer Usually Means More: Take caution and slow down when a deer crosses. Deer generally travel in groups, so if one crosses, be prepared that others may follow.
  • Time of Day: As deer are most active at dawn and dusk, they typically are seen roadside during the early morning and late evening – the same times most people are commuting to and from work.
  • Time of Year: While deer-car collisions can occur any time of year, the fall breeding season is a peak time for such accidents. Road shoulders generally provide green food both during extremely dry times of the year and following a long, hard winter.
  • Minimize Damage: If it is too late to avoid a collision, drivers are advised to slow down as much as possible to minimize damage – resist the urge to swerve to avoid the deer, this may cause further damage, sending drivers off the road or causing a collision with another vehicle. If an accident occurs, alert the police as soon as possible.
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