Be Alert – Deer Are On The Move
DES MOINES As the harvest has been in full swing and much of the corn crop has been harvested, motorists are being reminded that deer are starting to be more mobile with the loss of cover. However, a recent study says that the average Iowa motorist has a little less likelihood of colliding with a deer.
According to a recently released study by State Farm Insurance, the state of Iowa is ranked third in the nation, behind West Virginia and Montana, for collisions involving motor vehicles and deer.
According to the State Farm study, the average Iowa driver’s chances of colliding with a deer have actually dropped to a 1-in-73 chance within the next year. That is actually an improvement from odds of 1-in-67 last year.
One reason for the lower odds of a collision is due to a decline in the deer population. According to Kevin Baskins of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, wildlife biologists say that in 2004, Iowa had an estimated population of 600,000 deer. But, over the past few years, the deer population has dropped almost fifty percent to and estimated 350,000 deer.
Despite those projections, the DNR reminds motorists that added caution while traveling is a good idea through the next few weeks.
Through the third week of November, Iowa’s bucks and does are the most active, as the breeding season, or rut, builds to its peak. This creates numerous scenarios of fast moving, unpredictable deer crossing highways.
Another factor that increases the risk of seeing deer will be the change away from daylight savings time this Sunday, November 3rd. This places more of us behind the wheel during the dusk and dawn period. Twenty one percent of road killed deer observed by the Department of Transportation along Iowa’s rural highways and interstates came in November in 2012. Second was October, with 14 percent.
The easiest way to minimize the risk of hitting a deer is to simply slow down and remain alert, especially around dawn and dusk. Many accidents occur near brushy or tree lined waterways that cross roads. And if you see one deer there are good odds there may be a second or third animal following along.
Drivers are also reminded ‘Don’t veer for deer,’ Leaving the lane of traffic to avoid a collision with a deer could cause a collision with another vehicle or a roadside obstacle, such as a utility pole or culvert.