WV DNR News Release
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Jim Justice, Governor
Stephen S. McDaniel, Director

News Release: October 11, 2017


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Media Contact: Samantha Smith 304-957-9364 Samantha.Smith@wv.gov

Contact:

Gary Foster, Wildlife Resources Section, 304-637-0245 Gary.M.Foster@wv.gov

Motorists should be cautious while driving during fall months

FRENCH CREEK, W.Va. — The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (DNR) urges motorists to be extra cautious while driving in the fall because vehicle collisions with deer tend to rise during this time of year.

"West Virginia is fortunate to have an abundance of white-tailed deer,” said Tyler Evans, wildlife biologist with the DNR Wildlife Resources Section. “However, this abundance can magnify the issue of deer-vehicle collisions when combined with the deer breeding season which takes place in the fall.”

West Virginia’s rugged terrain also likely contributes to these collisions, as the highest quality deer habitat is often found in valleys and bottomland areas, where conditions allow for agricultural production and may also promote an abundant supply of mast and other natural food sources. These areas also support many of the state's public roads.

Regarding the deer breeding season, deer-vehicle collisions are likely to increase for a few reasons. Late October and November coincide with the “rut,” or peak deer breeding season. Increases in deer activity and movement during this period can increase the likelihood of deer-vehicle collisions. On average, approximately 40 percent of deer-vehicle collisions in West Virginia take place between October and December.

"Additionally, many hunters will take to the woods this fall. Their presence may also influence movement of deer and may increase the likelihood of a deer-vehicle collision," Evans said.

To reduce the likelihood of colliding with a deer, the DNR urges motorists to observe the following driving tips:

  • Be aware of your surroundings and make use of your peripheral vision. If you see a deer in the roadway, immediately reduce your speed and honk your horn using short blasts.
  • Drive with your headlights on, and use high beams whenever it is safe to do so.
  • Drive at a reduced speed, especially during early morning and late evening hours when deer movements are likely to increase.
  • Do not swerve or leave your lane to avoid a deer. If you encounter a deer in or adjacent to the road, slow down or stop until it is safe to proceed.
  • If you see one deer, look for more, as they often travel in small groups. Always drive defensively.

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Photo courtesy of the West Virginia Department of Commerce. DNR advised motorists to be cautious in the fall months to avoid collisions with deer.
Photo courtesy of the West Virginia Department of Commerce.
DNR advised motorists to be cautious in the fall months to avoid collisions with deer.