As deer activity increases, so must drivers’ caution

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There are a lot of deer movement at this time of year, and part of that movement takes place across roads throughout Missouri. Drivers are urged to keep an eye out in both rural and urban areas. (Photo: Missouri Department of Conservation)

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Migrating birds, colorful leaves and cooler temperatures are some of the things people connect with autumn in Missouri. Everyone who plans to get in a car and drive somewhere in the weeks ahead needs to remember another well-known occurrence associated with fall in Missouri – deer crossing highways.

Drivers can hit a deer crossing a highway or street at any time of year, but October and November are the peak months for deer-vehicle accidents. The primary reason for this increase in deer/vehicle accidents this time of year is that fall is the peak time of the deer mating season – commonly call the rut. Along with the mating activity, deer are also feeding heavily at this time. In addition to supplying energy for mating activities, this increased eating is an instinctual reaction to the oncoming winter – fatten up now because food sources will be leaner in winter.

Put all this together and it means there is a lot of deer movement at this time of year, and part of that movement takes place across roads throughout Missouri. While many people may equate deer running across highways to something that only happens in rural areas where roads run through forests and fields, it’s important to point out this is an urban thing, too. Deer have adapted very well to city habitats and, as a result, seeing a deer bolt across a street in a heavily urbanized area is a common sight in the fall.

The height of deer activity occurs at dawn and dusk. This adds to the risk for a driver – these are low-light times of day when deer are not as easily seen as they are at midday when the sun is high and bright.

For the original story shared by the Springfield News-Leader click here.

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