FRENCH CREEK, W.Va. – The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (DNR) urges motorists to take extra caution while driving in the fall. On average, approximately 40 percent of deer-vehicle collisions in West Virginia will occur between October and December.
“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.
“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.
West Virginia’s rugged terrain also likely contributes to these collisions as the highest quality deer habitat is often associated with valleys and bottomland areas, 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 offers the following driving tips:
* Be aware of your surroundings and what may be in your peripheral vision. If you see a deer in the roadway, immediately reduce your speed and honk your horn using short blasts.
* Drive with your 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 your lane to avoid a deer collision. If you encounter a deer, press your brakes firmly and attempt to stop.
* Drive defensively.