WisDOT warns motorist of increased deer activity

Local News
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As temperatures rebound into the 50s, a white-tailed deer bounds across the road at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge, Sunday, April 14, 2019, in Commerce City, Colo. Forecasters predict a week of temperatures rising into the 70s but then cooling into the 50s toward week’s end. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

WISCONSIN (WFRV) — June is right around the corner and according to the DOT, this means increased deer activity. 

The DOT is asking motorists, especially motorcyclists, to be alert as the female deer begin searching for places to give birth and fawns separate from their mothers. 

Crashes tend to peak in the fall, according to officials, but June is when motorists are most likely to be injured in deer/vehicle crashes. 

In 2018, 515 motorists were injured in crashes with deer and four people were killed – all four being motorcyclists.

“This time of year, we typically see an increase in vehicle speeds and traffic volumes along with more motorcycles and deer along roadways,” said David Pabst, Director of WisDOT’s Bureau of Transportation Safety. “It’s a recipe for a crash, especially if motorists aren’t being alert.”

Officials say 20,177 deer/vehicle crashes occurred last year. Counties with higher traffic volumes and larger deer populations saw the most crashes. 

Dane County reported the most crashes, have 1,033. Here is how many deer/vehicles crashes were reported in local counties: 

  • Brown: 505 crashes
  • Calumet: 227 crashes
  • Door: 344 crashes
  • Manitowoc: 728 crashes
  • Oconto: 442 crashes
  • Outagamie: 596 crashes
  • Shawano: 772 crashes
  • Sheboygan: 692 crashes
  • Winnebago: 470 crashes

The four fatalities occurred in Adams, Dane, Dunn, and Polk counties. To see the full breakdown of deer/vehicles crashes, click here.

To avoid deer crashes and motorist injuries, the DOT recommends:

  • Slowing down, eliminating distractions, and making sure vehicle occupants are buckled up 
  • Deer can cross the road any time, but are most active in the early morning and evening hours
  • If you see one deer cross in front of you, watch for more. Honking your horn may frighten the animal away
  • If a collision does happen: 
    • Brake firmly and stay in your lane
    • Avoid sudden swerving which can result in losing control of your vehicle and a more serious crash
    • When operating a motorcycle, you should slow down, brake firmly, and swerve if necessary to avoid hitting the deer. Try staying in your lane to avoid hitting other objects
  • If you do hit a deer:
    • ​​​​​​​Get your vehicle safely off the road, if possible, and call law enforcement. Be prepared to describe your location.
    • Generally, it is safest to stay buckled-up inside your vehicle. Walking along the highway is dangerous and you could be struck by another vehicle.
    • Do not attempt to move an injured deer
  • To report car-killed-deer:
    • Dear carcasses on the active, traveled portion of a highway represent an urgent safety hazard and should be reported by calling 911
    • If the carcass is off the traveled portion of the roadway, contact the appropriate county sheriff’s department using the agency’s non-emergency, which can be found here
    • When calling to report a carcass, provide specific location information to make carcass removal more efficient and prompt

The Wisconsin DOT reminds drivers state law requires drivers to move over or slow down when approaching stopped emergency responders, tow trucks, and highway maintenance vehicles – including crews removing deer carcasses.

More information regarding the Car-Killed-Deer program can be found by clicking here.

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