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Seasonal Deer Movement Increases Risk Of Vehicle Collisions
ANNAPOLIS, MD ó The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Wildlife & Heritage Service advises motorists to be alert for deer crossing roads and highways during October and November.
Motorists should always remain vigilant for deer and other animals crossing in front of them, but the fall season is a time period of elevated white-tailed deer movement as yearling bucks explore for their new adult home ranges that will last their lifespan. A Kent County deer study revealed that yearling white-tailed bucks relocated an average of 4 miles.
Adult bucks and does, searching for mates, expand movements within their established home range. After mating with a doe, the adult buck continues his pursuit of additional receptive does. Young male deer born this past May and June can be separated from their mother as a result of this breeding behavior involving movements and pair bonding.
This reproductive induced deer movement increases deer travel across highways and roads during October and November. Motorists need to heighten their awareness for the potential of deer crossing the road in front of them. DNR offers motorists the following tips to improve the odds of avoiding a deer and vehicle collision:
- A deer standing near the road may suddenly leap onto the road. Slow down and sound your horn to scare the deer away from the road.
- If you see a deer crossing the road ahead, slow down and scan for more deer. Deer travel in groups, so other deer may be nearby, but out of view.
- Slow down and brake to avoid hitting a deer, but do not swerve. Swerving can cause a driver to lose control and strike another vehicle. Drivers may lose control of their vehicle, causing the vehicle to leave the roadway and strike a tree or roll over.
- Throughout the year, increase your awareness for deer in the early morning hours and late afternoon hours. Deer commonly move between daytime resting areas to evening feeding locations.
- Be more alert in areas of deer-crossing highway signs. These warning signs indicate locations of frequent deer crossings.
During the fall, Marylanders and tourists travel across the state and enjoy the brisk temperatures and lower humidity while visiting Marylandís varied landscapes. Marylandís woodlands become a brilliant color palette of oranges, yellows, reds and greens. Animals such as deer, waterfowl and bears increase their movements, which make them more visible. Wildlife behavior in the fall enhances bird watching, wildlife photography and hunting. Enjoy visiting your favorite Maryland outdoor recreational areas and explore additional ones, but be especially cautious of deer along Marylandís roads and highways.
October 18, 2007
Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 449,000 acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic and cultural resources attract 12 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at www.dnr.maryland.gov