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Drivers: stay alert as deer activity increases

Shorter days and cooler fall temperatures are reminders to Iowa drivers: the risk of deer-vehicle collisions will rise in the coming weeks.

Deer activity increases through October and the first half of November, as the peak of the rut—or deer breeding season—approaches. This comes as more drivers are on the road during dawn and dusk and as the crop harvest opens more fields, pushing deer toward remaining cover.

You can further reduce your chance of hitting a deer by remaining alert near potential deer crossings, slowing down during dawn and dusk--high deer travel periods—and not veering out of your lane if a deer strike appears imminent. By “veering for deer,” you may leave the roadway, with the risk of striking a pole, bridge abutment or other hazard, or of facing oncoming traffic in another lane.

Likely deer funnels include creeks, fence lines or trees leading up to road crossings. Deer are likely to follow them, for the cover they provide, before crossing the short stretch of open road to the other side. By watching the road shoulders and fence lines, you can better detect a deer near the road. Remember, too, if one deer crosses the road, chances are there are a few more nearby.

As the peak of the rut approaches in early November, there will be increased activity as bucks begin following does often oblivious to roadway traffic. That means daytime sightings of deer as that breeding pressure knocks deer out of their normal nocturnal patterns.

When driving, don't veer for deer | Iowa DNR

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