Deer Breeding Season Creates Driving Hazards

By Jilian Petrus, Reporter

LINN & JOHNSON CO., Iowa - November is breeding season for deer, and although the number of deer involved car wrecks is declining, accidents can and do happen.

At this time of year, these animals cause millions of dollars in vehicle damage.

"They don't pay attention, they're kind of crazy and go where they want to," laughed Janell Baldwin. Baldwin lives in Marion close to Alburnett Road. She says she's seen the deer running back and forth recently across traffic.

That's typical for the second and third week in November. It's mating season for the animals, and love makes them do silly things, like jump in front of your car.

"Their nose is to the ground, and I've literally seen them run into the sides of vehicles," said DNR and wildlife expert, Tim Thompson.

The deer are in what hunters and wildlife experts call "rut". That's when the female doe is in heat and ready to mate with the male bucks. A buck may travel 25 square miles in an area looking for does to breed with.

"So there's a lot of movement even on interstates, several times a day, it maybe occurring," said Thompson.

Daniel Tribble is just starting out behind the wheel. He sees plenty of deer around his home and knows the danger they present- especially for inexperienced drivers.

"As a new driver, I'm always looking for deer on Alburnett Road. There's always deer on the side of the road, they can jump out whenever you're not watching," Tribble said.

What happens when you do catch a deer in the headlights? How should you react? Thompson says start by slowing down and getting the animals attention

"Flash your brights on and off a bit. It might give that deer a reaction that it's seeing something change," said Thompson.

The DNR also advises you don't slam on the breaks or swerve out of the way. You could end up doing more damage to your car -hurting yourself or someone else. Where there is one deer, there are likely more. So proceed with caution after letting a deer pass across the road.

The deer are most active early in the morning and right before dusk.
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