Deer season causing problems for drivers

Local News

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – It’s breeding season for deer and although that might be good for them, it’s not so good for drivers. Deer can often be seen lying on the side of road.

According to the Division of Natural Resources, about 12,000 to 15,000 deer-vehicle collisions happen every year, and some of them can be fatal.

Breeding season is commonly called “rut season” for whitetail deer.

“This portion of the season causes them to move quite a bit, particularly the bucks chasing does,” Paul Johansen, Chief of the Wildlife Resources Section for DNR said.

Unfortunately, with all the increased movement it makes deer wander into the highways.

“Going down the stretch a few months ago, hit a deer just out of nowhere,” Katie Breeden, driver said.

“My wife was on the way home from work about two months ago and a deer just ran into the side of the car,” Larry McCoy, driver said.

If you see a deer warning sign on the side of the road, you may want to pay attention because it could cost you thousands of dollars in damage if you do hit one.

Larry McCoy says his wife’s car has about $1,000 to $2,000 dollars in damage. According to AAA, on average an animal-strike claim is nearly $4,000.

“It tore this whole piece off of the rear and I was able to put it back on it’s busted, and it’s got several dents down the side of the door,” McCoy said.

The Division of Natural Resources has a contract with the Department of Highways to clear animals off the road, but sometimes it may take a while.

“They pick the animals up. They also record the information for us. We call it non-seasonal mortality,” Johansen said.  

12,000 to 15,000 accidents might sound like a lot, however, it’s not.

“We’ve actually seen a pretty significant decline in the overall numbers of deer that are being killed on the highway, if you look at long-term trends over the last 10 to 15 years,” Johansen said.

Drivers should slow down early in the morning or at night, use your high beams when there’s no oncoming traffic and use your horn to scare them away.

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