Deer spooked near the road (photo by Mike Tewkesbury, Creative Commons license via Flickr)
It’s that time of year again when cars and deer come into conflict.
From October through December white-tailed deer hormones surge for the mating season. Males become aggressive, spar with their rivals, and challenge anything they see as a threat. Both sexes roam in search of mates and barely pay attention to their surroundings. Cars are the last thing on their minds.
Last year, Pennsylvania won the “prize” for the most deer-vehicle collisions in the U.S. According to a September 2015 article by Ad Crable at Lancaster Online,
we hit 127,275 deer with our cars — and those were only the collisions reported to insurance. When compared to hunting season, which took more than 353,000 deer that year, we’re making a sizable dent with our vehicles.
A case in point is in Schenley Park where hunting is prohibited, as in all Pittsburgh City Parks. Deer used to be rare but they moved in about 10 years ago (perhaps longer) and their population has exploded in the past five years. I knew we’d reached a milestone when I saw a first ever road-killed deer in the Park along the Boulevard of the Allies, hit on November 5 or 6.
I’m sure the person who hit that 6-point buck was very, very surprised. So are those whose dogs are challenged by aggressive deer. Every year since 2015, a buck has killed a dog in the City’s east end parks.
So be careful out there, especially at dusk and dawn when deer are most active. Use your brightest headlights and slow down. Don’t become a statistic.
Reminder: Deer (rifle) season begins tomorrow, Monday November 28, in Pennsylvania. Wear blaze orange when you’re outside the city.
(photo by Mike Tewkesbury, Creative Commons license via Flickr. Click on the image to see the original.)