LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56) — The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) issued its annual “Antler Alert” on Tuesday as the peak season for deer collisions is upon us.

October, November, and December see nearly half of all crashes involving deer, according to KYTC.

“We’d like to remind drivers to be especially watchful for deer and other wildlife on the move at dusk and at night, when poor visibility is already an issue,” said KYTC Secretary Jim Gray.

The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife said shorter days and cooler nights trigger deer-mating season which puts deer on the move. In addition, autumn harvesting is a contributing factor as deer are forced to explore farther afield to graze and find hiding places.

According to KYTC, deer are one of the leading causes of animal-related human fatalities in the U.S. with around 200 highway deaths annually.

In Kentucky, the KYTC Office of Highway Safety data reported 2,988 highway wrecks involving deer in 2021, which is an increase of around 100 crashes.

Deer Crash Numbers 2017 to 2021

Year        Total CollisionsFatalities       Suspected Serious Injury     Suspected Non-Serious Injury  Possible Injury 
20212,9883258258
20202,8863116580
20193,0693127182
20183,073384582
20173,1810176686
(KYTC)

KYTC offered tips for drivers during this peak season:

  • Slow down immediately upon spotting a deer crossing the roadway; they tend to travel in groups.
  • Don’t swerve to avoid a deer, which can result in a more serious crash with an oncoming vehicle or roadside object.
  • In the event of a crash, keep both hands on the wheel and apply brakes steadily until stopped.
  • Always wear a seat belt.
  • Keep headlights on bright at night unless other vehicles are approaching.
  • Eliminate distractions while driving: Phones down!
  • Drive defensively, constantly scanning the roadside, especially at dawn and dusk, when deer are most active.

A full list of deer-vehicle crashes by county can be found here.