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Deer, deer

Driver caution urged as deer enter rut

POSTED October 27, 2011 10:10 a.m.

It only takes a quick scan of the Barton County Sheriff’s Office accident logs to see an emerging pattern – the number of car versus deer wrecks is on the rise.
It happens annually in the fall and winter as love-sick deer enter their mating season known as the rut. “Every year it’s the same thing,” said Barton County Sheriff Greg Armstrong.
So, he said, there’s an increased need for vigilance on roads and highways, with keen eyes on ditches, shelter belts and wooded areas.
Each year, approximately 1.6 million crashes are caused by deer and spike October-December due to deer mating season, reported the Insurance Information Institute. These collisions make up over $3.6 billion in vehicle damage per year, with each incident averaging $3,100 worth of damage per vehicle, according to the institute.
“They’re starting to be more and more on the move,” Armstrong said. With hunting seasons starting, there will be even more movement.
Mid-fall and mid-spring are likely times of the year for deer to be seen on roadways, because of breeding habits during the fall and growth of vegetation during the spring. Sunrise and sunset are the times that deer are most active around roadways.
However, the sheriff said, this has not been a typical year. With the hot, dry conditions, food and water for the deer has been scarce, forcing the animals to roam more than normal all summer long.
The result has been numerous deer accidents outside of the rut.
Nonetheless, “driving on Kansas roads and highways this time of year means the possibility of an encounter with a deer,” said Sandy Praeger, state insurance commissioner. “Be careful when you take the wheel.”
 Praeger urges Kansas motorists to check with their insurance agents to find out the type of vehicle accident damage coverage their policies have.  According to American Automobile Association, insurance agents say most damage from deer collisions occurs in the front or on the side of a car. If involved in a crash, AAA encourages drivers to first call local law enforcement for assistance and then to make note of the date, time, street name and take any pictures to help document the incident before contacting their insurance carrier.
“Defensive driving is always important, but this time of year it’s extremely important,” Praeger said. “Do everything you can to protect yourself and your family while on the road.”


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