The explosion of the deer population around the nation has states warning drivers to watch out for whitetails through December, when deer are mating and anxious does are willing to chance a collision with a car to outrun a buck.
In Virginia, where the whitetail population has surged to 1 million, officials are warning that half to two-thirds of deer-vehicle collisions occur between October and December.
“Fall is the breeding season for deer, and consequently, deer are more active now than at any other time of the year,” the state said in an email to Secrets. “While less than 2 percent of vehicle fatalities and injuries involve deer collisions in Virginia, hitting a deer can cause considerable damage to both people and property,” it added.
Deer are getting so thick in the Washington area that they have been seen on city streets and neighborhoods like Georgetown.
The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries offered these driving tips:
1. When driving, particularly at dusk and dawn, slow down and be attentive. If you see one deer, likely there will be others. If one deer crosses the road as you approach, others may follow.
2. Deer habitually travel the same areas; therefore deer crossing signs have been installed by the Virginia Department of Transportation. Use caution when you see these signs.
3. Drivers should apply brakes, even stop if necessary, to avoid hitting a deer, but should never swerve out of the lane to miss a deer. A collision with another vehicle, tree or other object is likely to be more serious than hitting a deer.
4. Rely on your caution and your own senses, not deer whistles you can buy for your car. These devices have not been shown to be effective.
5. Any person involved in a collision with a deer or bear while driving a motor vehicle, thereby killing the animal, should immediately report the accident to a Conservation Police Officer or other law enforcement officer in the county or city where the accident occurred.
6. Drivers who collide with a deer or bear, thereby killing the animal, may keep it for their own use provided that they report the accident to a law enforcement officer where the accident occurred and the officer views the animal and gives the person a possession certificate.Paul Bedard, The Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.