With the deer hunting season comes deer hitting season.
Deer mating season, or rut, brings an accumulation of deer versus car collisions and last year, Captain Joe Hoffman of the McPherson County Sheriff's office, said 121 deer related collisions were reported to their station.
This year, they have already worked 79 deer related crashes.
"November is the most prevalent month. We're at least working one or two a day now and last November we worked 21 and in December it was about half of that," Hoffman said.
In 2016, the Kansas Department of Transportation reports 10,150 total deer vs. car collisions, seven were fatal and there were 495 injuries. May and June are also active months due to harvest time in Kansas.
Often times, deer can be seen hanging out in groups. If you see one cross the road, stay alert, as others might soon follow.
"Watch for them running — if one runs in front of you, be prepared for another one, they usually travel in two or more," he said.
Hoffman said the main thing when watching for deer while driving is to slow down and watch the edges of the road.
Deer are smart creatures and often times keep themselves blended in with the nature around them. This can be tricky for drivers, especially around dawn and dusk when visibility is low.
"Late evening and early morning hours are the worst times for deer accidents," Hoffman said.
To ensure the safety of the human population, there are signs along interstates and highways across America to warn drivers of areas deer tend to be active.
Most deer hang out in wooded areas, near rivers, creeks or streams, but Hoffman reminds drivers that they can be anywhere and can appear in the blink of an eye.
"I hit one last year where there was no wooded area around, it just appeared and I knew I was in an area with deer. I was going about 55 miles per hour and it came on the road that fast," he explained.
To avoid costly and possibly deadly collisions with darting deer, the Kansas Highway Patrol in Topeka offers some tips:
— Stay alert, pay more attention to the road and roadside, and intentionally look for deer. Be especially alert at dawn and dusk, the peak movement times for deer and when visibility is low.
— Slow down at deer crossing signs, which are posted where deer-vehicle collisions have repeatedly occurred, and near woods, parks, golf courses, and streams or creeks. At a reduced speed, you have a better chance of avoiding a deer.
— Deer usually travel in groups. When one deer crosses the road, there may be others about to cross. Slow down and watch for others to dart into the road.
— Slow down when approaching deer standing near roadsides. They have a tendency to bolt, possibly onto the roadway. Use emergency flashers to warn oncoming drivers after you see deer near a roadway.
— Always wear your seat belt. Statistics show that most people injured or killed in deer-related collisions were not wearing seat belts.
— The most serious crashes occur when drivers lose control of their vehicles trying to avoid an animal. Do not take unsafe evasive actions. It is usually safer to strike the deer than another object such as a tree or another vehicle.
— Motorcyclists need to be especially careful; fatality rates are higher in deer-motorcycle accidents than in deer-car crashes.
— If you hit a deer, pull over onto the shoulder, turn on your emergency flashers, and watch for traffic before exiting your vehicle. Do not try to remove a deer from the roadway unless you are sure it is dead; an injured deer could hurt you. If you have a cellular phone, dial *47 (*HP) for the nearest Highway Patrol dispatcher or *KTA for assistance on the Kansas Turnpike.
— Anyone involved in a vehicle-deer crash that results in personal injury or property damage that totals $1,000 or more is required to immediately report the crash to the nearest law enforcement agency. Failure to report any traffic crash is a misdemeanor and may result in suspension of driving privileges.
For more information, contact the McPherson County Sheriffs office at 620-245-1225 or visit their website at http://mcphersoncountyks.us/Directory.aspx?did=81.
Contact Brooke Haas by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @ MacSentinel.