NORTH DAKOTA (KXNET) — How many times have you heard this? ‘It came out of nowhere’ or ‘it just jumped in front of me’.
Deer-auto collisions happen quite often this time of year in North Dakota.
October through early December is the peak season for deer-vehicle accidents.
While it can be as simple as more deer, or more cars, this time of year, marks fall mating season, when the bucks are quite literally chasing after a doe.
And there are some other factors in the uptick of the ‘run-ins’ this time of year.
“There’s a lot of disturbance this time of the year. There are some young juvenile animals that are being disbursed. You know, we’ve got a lot of harvests that are going on, there are a lot more people out in the backcountry in North Dakota enjoying the outdoors whether it be upland game hunting, waterfowl hunting. So, there’s a lot more disturbance and we certainly encourage motorists to be aware of that,” said Greg Gullickson, outreach biologist for the North Dakota Game and Fish.
According to Gullickson, this year’s deer population in North Dakota is rebounding, especially in central areas of the state after the EHD disease wiped out a lot of the deer population last year.
A higher population equals a higher chance of meeting a deer in front of your car.
Gullickson has some tips to deal with and avoid that situation.
He said, “Especially for motorists if you see a deer, slow down, honk your horn. And if you happen to get into an accident with a deer, you don’t need to report it unless there’s personal injury or other property that’s damaged other than the vehicle. If you do hit a deer, whether it’s alive or not, contact State Radio to let them know what the situation is.”
And if you want to possess the deer, you must call Game and Fish to receive a tag before loading it into your pickup.
If there is damage to property or anyone in the collision is injured, call 9-1-1.
Knowing how to prevent or protect yourself in a deer-vehicle collision, could make the outcome very different.
“A lot of times, deer-car collisions are unavoidable. So, if you have to hit a deer, hit a deer on the highway. Don’t swerve, don’t take the ditch. We have more accidents that happen that are worse because people try to avoid a deer by swerving and going into the ditch and rolling over their vehicle. Just simply hit the deer if you have to,” explained Gullickson.
Dusk and dawn are usually the most dangerous times for an accident to happen, and deer at that time usually travel in groups of two to three.
Be on the lookout for deer crossing signs, look out for the deer’s reflective glowing eyes at night, and always wear your seatbelt.
North Dakota is ranked 11th in the country for the number of deer-vehicle collisions.
About one in every 68 car accidents involves an animal.