Although it is always a good practice, drivers are reminded to stay alert for deer as they travel Iowa’s roadways over the next few weeks. Increased deer movements due to crop harvest and deer breeding behavior combine to hike the risk of vehicle-deer collisions during this period.
Beginning now through the third week of November, Iowa bucks and does are more active, as the breeding season builds to its peak. This creates scenarios of fast moving, unpredictable deer crossing highways. With crop harvest in full swing, deer are also pushed into the remaining cover.
Another factor that increases the risk of seeing deer will be the change away from daylight savings time on November 3rd. This places more of us behind the wheel during the dusk and dawn period. Twenty one percent of road killed deer observed by the DOT along Iowa’s rural highways and interstates came in November in 2012. Second was October, with 14 percent.
The easiest way to minimize your risk of hitting a deer is to simply slow down and remain alert, especially around dawn and dusk. Many accidents occur near brushy or tree lined waterways that cross roads. And if you see one deer there may be a second or third following. Drivers are also reminded ‘Don’t veer for deer,’. Leaving your lane of traffic could cause a collision with another vehicle or a roadside obstacle, such as a utility pole or culvert.
Still, while this combination of factors challenges drivers, Iowa’s deer herd has shrunk and the number of deer related accidents has dropped significantly since 2003. This is attributed to a decade of increased deer harvest. Hunters, Iowa’s primary deer management tool, increased their take of does over the last decade.