ELKINS, W.Va. — The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (DNR) urges motorists to be more cautious while driving this time of year, as deer/vehicular collisions increase during late October and November.
“West Virginia is blessed with an abundance of wildlife, including a healthy white-tailed deer population,” said Gary Foster, supervisor of Game Management for the DNR Wildlife Resources Section. “Although deer are found throughout the state, their population densities vary considerably from one region to another. West Virginia’s rural nature and mountainous terrain also contribute to collisions between deer and vehicles, as the highest quality deer habitat is often associated with the valleys and bottomlands. These same areas support the majority of the state’s public roads.”
Deer/vehicular collisions increase each fall for a couple of reasons.
“October and November coincide with the ‘rut’ or peak of the breeding season for deer,” Foster said. “During this period, deer movements and activities increase significantly, making deer more vulnerable to collisions with vehicles. On average, 40 percent of deer collisions in West Virginia occur during the three-month period from October through December.
“In addition, many hunters take to the woods each fall, stirring up deer and increasing the chances of deer/vehicle collisions,” Foster said.
The DNR suggests motorists be extra careful during this time of the year and recommends the following driving tips:
• Be aware of your surroundings and what may be in your peripheral vision. If you see deer in the vicinity, reduce your speed and honk your horn using short blasts.
• Drive with your headlights on and use high beams when possible.
• Reduce your speed, especially during early morning and late evening hours when deer movements typically increase.
• Do not swerve and leave your lane to avoid a deer collision. If you encounter a deer, press your brakes firmly and attempt to stop.
• Drive defensively.