The Duncan Banner

Local News

October 13, 2012

Deer collisions likely to increase in coming weeks

NORMAN — Oklahoma deer hunters have a wealth of opportunity when it comes to trying to outwit the state’s most popular game animal.

In fact, since Oct. 1, archery hunters have been doing their best to reduce our exploding deer populations around the county and state. This is accomplished by harvesting ample numbers of does for the freezer or for healthy venison donations destined for state’s Hunter’s Against Hunger program.

Hunters are now the apex predator in charge of keeping deer herds in check since bears and wolves were eradicated long ago in our area. Having plenty of hunters to fulfill this role is a necessity.

This is important because along with extremely high and rising deer numbers, deer-related car accidents also are on the rise.

There’s no question, cars and deer are a lethal combination. In fact, many drivers may be killed as a result of deer-vehicular collisions, particularly in the fall months when the most deer movement takes place.

To understand why, we must delve off into a bit of biology. The bulk of deer breeding occurs from the second week in November to Thanksgiving with some does being bred shortly before or thereafter.

Deer are also searching for food to improve fat reserves in preparation for winter. These factors cause a dramatic increase in the movement of local deer herds and as a result, more deer-vehicle collisions occur in this period than any other time of year. With Cleveland County having so many deer combined with so many people, drivers need to be especially cautious, especially at dusk and dawn.

The Insurance Information Institute estimates there are over 1.6 million deer-vehicle collisions each year, resulting in about 150 human deaths, tens of thousands of injuries and more than $3.6 billion in vehicular damage. An additional billion is estimated to be spent on medical payments for injuries to people in the car and out-of-pocket expenses paid by vehicle owners, bringing the total cost to approximately $4.6 billion. The average cost for individual claims is approximately $3,000.

Studies show three out of four vehicle-animal collisions involve deer, and that November is the peak month for these accidents to occur. Late October also sees a significant number of deer-related accidents. As wildlife habitat shrinks and more people move to rural areas, accidents with deer and other animals will increase. Not only is urban sprawl displacing deer from their habitat, but the deer population is continuing to grow.

This can be especially true where regulations or city ordinances prevent or restrict hunters from harvesting deer; especially does which are the population drivers. As a result, populations explode and deer are forced to move often to find more food and additional living space. This results in hundreds of thousands of deer finding their way onto roadways.

We all know friends and family who have been involved with serious or sometimes fatal car accidents with deer. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to decrease the likelihood of being involved in a deer-vehicle collision.

Drivers should know that deer are not just found in the country crossing rural roads near wooded areas. In fact, many deer crashes occur on busy highways near cities in wide open habitat.

 Also, deer are unpredictable and have poor depth perception, especially when faced with bright headlights, loud engines and fast-moving vehicles. They often dart quickly into traffic unexpectedly. In addition, if does have successfully given birth and raised fawns, they generally stay together into the winter months. This means if you see one cross the road, there are likely more in the immediate vicinity.

Drivers should use caution in areas known to have a large deer population and in areas where roads divide crop fields and forestland. Coupled with being a more cautious driver, always wear your seatbelt. This should be a no-brainer these days, but some still need a reminder. One study of fatal animal crashes showed 60 percent of people killed were not wearing a seatbelt and sixty-five percent of people killed in animal-related crashes while riding motorcycles were not wearing helmets. Also, when driving at night, use high beam headlights when there is no oncoming traffic. The high beams better illuminate the eyes of deer and many other animals on or near the roadway.

Motorists should be attentive from early evening, through nighttime and shortly after sunrise. These are the highest risk times for deer-vehicle collisions.

However, in mid-November deer may be crossing roadways at all times during the day while the “rut” or breeding phase is at a frenzied level.  Deer of all ages are unpredictable in mid-November and can be seen at any time of day.

Brake firmly when you notice a deer in or near your path, slow down, but stay in your lane and do not swerve.

Many fatal crashes occur when drivers swerve to avoid a deer and hit another vehicle, tree, or power pole and lose control. Lastly, do not rely on devices such as deer whistles, deer fences and/or reflectors to deter deer. These devices are ineffective and unproven.

Heath Herje is an agriculture and wildlife educator for Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service in Cleveland County. He can be reached at 405-321-4774.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • 7-25 Marlow Gas.jpg Church ministry to host $1-per-gallon gas event on Saturday

    Hop & Sack Grocery should be hopping on Saturday morning.
       The annual gas buydown project, a ministry of Marlow’s First Baptist Church, will begin at 8 a.m. and last until noon on Saturday.
     The church will buy down the price of gas so customers will pay only $1 per gallon for up to 20 gallons.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-25 Chance Anderson.jpg Homegrown Marlow singer returns for free concert

        Marlow native Chance Anderson brought his  band to  Marlow’s downtown stage Thursday evening for the second of three community concerts of the summer.
     Free hot dogs and drinks were served to about 150 people who gathered for the music.
        Jason McPherson, city administrator, said he was proud of the turnout, especially with the raging heat.

    July 25, 2014 4 Photos

  • Red Cross notes importance of local participation

    July 25, 2014

  • 7-25 National Day of the Cowboy 0013.jpg National Day of the Cowboy kicks off Saturday

    The annual National Day of the Cowboy will kick off at 10 a.m. Saturday at The Chisholm Trail Heritage Center.
    The theme is centered around Native American culture and will be showcased through a variety of different activites, specifically the ongoing Allan Houser Exhibition.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Temperature hits 101

    The temperature hit 101 in Duncan on Thursday and stayed there for about two hours before cooling down to 99 at 6:35 p.m., the National Weather Service reported.
    More hot weather is in the forecast.

    July 24, 2014

  • 7-24 Rotary Mike Nelson 0087.jpg Nelson discusses Duncan’s water supply during Rotary meeting

    Duncan Vice Mayor Mike Nelson doesn’t think Duncan residents need to worry about the city’s water supply.
    Despite Stage 3 water rationing, which limits outdoor watering to midnight to 9 a.m. Wednesdays and Saturdays, Nelson said the forethought of Duncan’s forefathers, who were also Duncan Rotary members, have created a backup system for the city.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-24 Douglass Pool Update 0081.jpg What’s dug up at cemetery goes down at spray pad project

       Dana Stanley knew just where to go to get fill dirt for the Douglass Park spray pad project -- the local cemetery.
       The city is building a splash pad on top of what used to be Douglass Pool, but  before that happens  a fairly large hole has to be filled.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Traffic stop leads to drug arrest for Duncan man

    Bail was set at $250,000 Wednesday for a Duncan man who was allegedly found to have two bags of methamphetamine and two bags of marijuana in his home.
    Duncan Police Officer Suzannahe Weir said she stopped Steven Fontinott, 62,  for a traffic violation on Saturday.

    July 24, 2014

  • Man drives drunk, rolls truck in the process

    A felony warrant was issued for a Marlow man who was allegedly found to have been driving drunkenly following a rollover accident on Nabor Road.
    Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Darin Carman said William Waller, 33, was pinned under the steering wheel of his truck and smelled of alcohol.

    July 24, 2014

  • Hard year for peaches doesn't dampen summer tradition

    A rusting, silver-colored water tower tells visitors to this rural town between Muskogee and Tulsa that they've come to the “Peach Capitol of Oklahoma.”
    Residents of Stratford, the state’s other self-proclaimed peach capital, might beg to differ. Even so, Porter is known for its peaches, and every year thousands of people flood this town of about 600 residents to taste and celebrate the local crop during the three-day Peach Festival.

    July 24, 2014

Poll

Should the date for The World's Largest Garage Sale be changed from the third weekend in July to sometime in October to take advantage of cooler weather like we had this past weekend?

No. It's better in the summer cause kids are out of school.
Yes. More shoppers would come during nice fall weather.
Either time is fine.

     View Results
AP Video
Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites