"In 2017, there were 184 deer related crashes in Cherokee County, including 5 injuries," according to Sheriff David Groves. The Cherokee County Sheriff's Office joins law enforcement across the region in reminding drivers about the annual increase in deer movement as we enter into October.
Kansas State Trooper Tod says close to half the total vehicle/deer crashes they work all year come within the months of October, November and December.
The Kansas State Highway Patrol released a map, showing county numbers from 2017. The top number is the total number of vehicle/deer crashes. The bottom number is the number of injuries. An asterisk (*) shows how many of those were fatal.
Southeast Kansas numbers from 2017:
Allen County: 118 crashes, 7 injuries, 3 fatalities
Bourbon County: 76 crashes, 4 injuries
Cherokee County: 184 crashes, 5 injuries
Crawford County: 170 crashes, 8 injuries
Labette County: 193 crashes, 11 injuries
Montgomery County: 206 crashes, 4 injuries
Neosho County: 165 crashes, 8 injuries
Wilson County: 106 crashes, 5 injuries
Woodson County: 59 crashes, 3 injuries
In an effort to help keep motorists safe, Sheriff Groves provides the following tips:
A social media post shared by Trooper Tod says typically, the greatest number of deer-vehicle crashes are in mid-November when the rut, or mating season, peaks. In addition to the rut, deer are also on the move in mid-fall seeking new food sources and shelter as crops are harvested and leaves fall from trees and shrubs, leaving them less secure than in their summer habitats.
"The deer population has stabilized over the last six years, so areas that have had deer likely still have them," said Levi Jaster, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Big Game Coordinator. "This time of year, young animals are dispersing to find new places to live and breeding season is approaching. More animals on the move means more of them will be crossing roads, so be extra cautious in areas with good deer habitat."
"If you are unfortunate enough to have a deer enter the highway in front of your car, it is best to hit the animal and not swerve to avoid it," said the KHP's Lt. Adam Winters. "Often, we find more serious crashes occur when you swerve to miss the deer, potentially losing control of your vehicle, leaving the road or veering into oncoming traffic."
KHP tips if you hit a deer:
Kansas authorities say anyone involved in a vehicle-deer crash resulting in personal injury or property damage that totals $1,000 or more is required to immediately report the crash to the nearest law enforcement agency. Failure to report any traffic crash is a misdemeanor and may result in suspension of driving privileges.
A salvage tag is required to remove a deer carcass, or any part of the carcass, from the crash site. Tags can be issued by KHP troopers, sheriff's deputies, or KDWPT game wardens.
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