Watch out for Deer! Authorities say Deer Crash Season is upon us - FOX 14 TV Joplin and Pittsburg News Weather Sports |

Watch out for Deer! Authorities say Deer Crash Season is upon us


"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:

  • Drive with your high beams on if there is no oncoming traffic.
  • Scan the road and ditches. If see you a deer, slow down and continue with caution.
  • Deer will typically travel in groups. If you see one, expect there to be more.
  • Do not take evasive action to avoid a deer. Generally, it's better and safer to hit the animal than to swerve to miss it.
  • If you strike a deer, pull all the way off the roadway, activate your emergency flashers, stay in the vehicle, and contact your local law enforcement agency.
  • As always, don't forget to buckle up!

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:

  • Slow down, move your vehicle to the shoulder if possible, and call for law enforcement. KHP dispatch can be reached at *47, Kansas Turnpike at *KTA, and local law enforcement at 911. Make sure you tell the dispatcher if the animal or your vehicle is still in the road.
  • If you hit a deer or other animal, do not worry about removing the animal. Law enforcement can remove the animal from the road when they arrive. Don't go near a wounded animal. A frightened and wounded animal can be unpredictable.
  • Turn on your hazard lights and remain buckled up inside your vehicle. You are more protected this way, should a secondary crash occur.
  • If you must be outside your vehicle, make sure it is as far off the road as possible, and do not stand between your vehicle and another one. Keep children buckled, and in car seats in the vehicle. Be vigilant and watch traffic.

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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