HUTCHINSON, Kan. — Kansas officials say November is peak season for deer-vehicle collisions, and they’re warning drivers not to swerve abruptly to avoid hitting the animal because that could cause more serious crashes.
Mating season and the quest for more secure habitat and food sources cause the deer to move more often in the fall, said Ron Kaufman, a spokesman for the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism.
“Typically, the greatest number of deer-vehicle crashes are in mid-November, when the rut, or mating season, peaks,” Kaufman said. “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.”
State Department of Transportation officials said 16.5% of vehicle crashes in 2018 were deer-related. The Hutchinson News reports that Sedgwick County had the most reported deer-related crashes at 418 followed by Butler County with 384.
Kansas Highway Patrol Lt. Adam Winters advises that it’s best for a driver to hit a deer if they encounter one, rather than try to avoid it.
“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,” Winters said.
State agencies also recommend that drivers be especially alert during dawn and dusk hours and reduce speed near wooded areas.