Department of Fish and Wildlife
Deer-related crashes increase in fall
FRANKFORT, Ky. – Motorists
encounter deer on Kentucky roadways throughout the year but the number of
collisions increases in the fall.
half of all deer-related accidents in the state occur from October through
December with more of these collisions reported in November than any other
month, according to Kentucky State Police data.
should be aware of deer movements this fall no matter where they are in the
state,” said Kyle Sams, deer biologist for the Kentucky Department of Fish and
Wildlife Resources. “Drive a little slower and try to anticipate what might be
coming from different directions.”
factors contribute to the seasonal rise in deer-related crashes.
periods of daylight and cooler temperatures trip breeding instincts in deer and
the peak of activity generally occurs by mid November. Crop harvesting and
increased hunting pressure also can put deer on the move in the fall, Sams said.
the thing that causes deer to move more during October and November is simply
the mating cycle known as the rut,” he said. “Male deer are searching for
females and they don’t really pay attention to their whereabouts like they do
at other times of the year. At the same time, you see more does (female deer)
darting across roadways because the bucks are chasing them.”
commuting to and from work around dusk and dawn are reminded that those are
periods when deer are typically most active. Last November, more than half of
the deer-vehicle collisions occurred between 5-8 a.m. and 5-8 p.m., according
to state police data.
have evolved to be active during those portions of the day,” Sams said. “During
the mating cycle, or rut, they can be active throughout the day.”
with caution when passing through known deer crossing areas, often identified
by yellow highway signs, and use high-beam headlights at night when there’s no
you encounter a deer on the road, slow down but only take evasive action if it can
be done safely. Swerving could confuse the deer even more and increase the likelihood
of a crash. Allow the deer to leave the roadway but keep in mind that more may
be following it.
State Police offers these tips and a wealth of statistics on a webpage
dedicated to vehicle-deer collision information at kentuckystatepolice.org/deerauto.htm.
also publishes the annual Kentucky Traffic Collision
Facts report. According to the 2014 report, deer-related
crashes accounted for less than 3 percent of the 127,326 total vehicle
collisions reported to state police. Three people died in vehicle-deer
collisions last year.
counties with high deer densities produce some of the highest collision rates. Boone
County in northern Kentucky led the state the previous five years with an
average of 148 vehicle-deer collisions per year followed by Hopkins (122), Jefferson
(103), Campbell (97) and Hardin (96) counties, according to state police data.
is a critical component in the management of Kentucky’s deer herd.
the 10 counties with the highest average of vehicle-deer collisions from 2010-2014,
according to state police data, more than half are classified by Kentucky Fish
and Wildlife as Zone 1 counties. The department sets deer hunting season dates
and the number of deer each hunter can take by zone. In a Zone 1 county, the
deer population is higher than biologists would prefer, so hunters are allowed
to take more deer. Hunters may harvest an unlimited number of female deer in
Zone 1 counties but must purchase the appropriate number of additional deer
hunters we would have a tremendous overpopulation of deer across the state,”
Sams said. “Hunters really are the most efficient and cost effective tool that
we have in deer control. They help us manage the deer population through