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Drivers Beware: Deer More Active This Time of Year

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Drivers should keep their eyes peeled this season. The Missouri State Highway Patrol is reminding us that deer are more active this time of year.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Drivers should keep their eyes on the road.  The Missouri State Highway Patrol is reminding us that deer are more active this time of year and we should be especially vigilant during the evening and early dawn hours.

"The combination of mating period and an increased feeding period means there's a lot of deer activity," says Missouri Department of Conservation Media Specialist Francis Skalicky.

That means more deer are on the road and can sometimes be in unexpected places.

"Obviously they're in rural areas," Skalicky says.  "But I've seen deer run across Kearney, East Battlefield and Cherry Street."

You never know when a deer will pop out of the woods and onto the road so drivers are asked to be extra cautious this time of year.

"It could be anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000 for a normal deer hit," says Collision Manager at Reliable Superstore Lee Sibet.  "And we have had some as high as $10,000 depending on the size of the deer and the speed of the car."

With a heavier feeding period and mating season underway, drivers are urged to remain alert.

"Overall deer numbers are over one million," says Skalicky.  "So statewide there are still an abundance of deer which means drivers need to be aware."

Last year, Missouri drivers experienced nearly 4,000 traffic crashes where deer-vehicle strikes occurred.  One deer strike happened about every two hours in the state.

"Don't swerve to avoid them," Skalicky says.  "Because you could swerve into oncoming traffic or off road problems bigger than hitting a deer."

The majority of deer strikes occur from October through December each year with the largest number taking place in November which is around rifle season.

"This time of year when rifle season opens, we can get as many as one a day in here," Sibet says.

So a friendly reminder to watch our for Bambi's buddies-- especially during the next few months.

"Put it on your mental checklist to fasten your seat belts and be on the lookout for deer," Skalicky says.

Five people were killed and there were 411 injuries during deer-vehicle strikes last year.

Officials say to try to avoid swerving when you come across deer and it's also smart to honk the horn.
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