WVDNR urges drivers to watch for deer during fall months

West Virginia

Photo courtesy of the West Virginia Department of Commerce
White-tailed deer

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (DNR) urges motorists to take extra caution while driving in the fall.

“West Virginia is fortunate to have an abundance of white-tailed deer,” said Tyler Evans, wildlife biologist with the DNR Wildlife Resources Section. “However, populations are dense in many areas and this can increase the number of deer-vehicle collisions during the fall breeding season.

On average, approximately 40 percent of deer-vehicle collisions in West Virginia will occur between October and December, according to the DNR.

“October and November coincide with the ‘rut’ peak of the deer breeding season. The increase in activity and movement of deer can increase the chances a deer will collide with a vehicle. Additionally, the presence of hunters may contribute to deer movement and increase the probability of a deer-vehicle collision,” Evans said

The rugged terrain in West Virginia also likely has contributed to these collisions as the highest quality deer habitat is often associated with valleys and bottom landareas, according to Evans.

“That’s where conditions allow for agricultural production and may also promote an abundant supply of acorns and other natural food sources,” Evans said. “Not surprisingly, these areas also support the majority of the state’s public roads.”

The DNR has offered the following tips to help driver be more cautious:

  • Be aware of the surroundings and what may be in the peripheral vision. If you see a deer in the roadway, immediately reduce your speed and honk your horn using short blasts.
  • Drive with headlights on and use high beams whenever possible.
  • Drive at a reduced speed, especially during early morning and late evening hours when deer movements are likely to increase.
  • Do not swerve and leave the lane to avoid a deer collision. If you encounter a deer, press your brakes firmly and attempt to stop.
  • Drive defensively.

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