It’s deer mating season in the Lake Area, and the Missouri State Highway Patrol wants you to watch out.
At this time of year you might come across deer in places you’re not expecting.
The ‘Patrol says hunting and crop harvesting can cause the deer to move around, and that could mean accidents on the road or highway.
Over 43-hundred deer were hit causing crashes in Missouri in 2019, and those accidents caused 449 injuries and nine deaths.
If you see deer in the road, the ‘Patrol says you should slow down and proceed with caution because where there’s one deer, there’s often more.
You might notice your headlights reflecting off the eyes of deer at night or early in the morning before sunrise.
Cute but deadly
Watch for sudden deer movement on state roads through November
JEFFERSON CITY — Cooler temperatures and longer nights mean more wildlife movement along and across state roads. The Missouri Department of Transportation reminds motorists to be prepared for the sudden appearance of wild animals such as deer and coyote on Missouri roadways during the fall.
“Deer/vehicle collisions are at their peak from mid-October through the end of November,” said Natalie Roark, state maintenance director. “Shorter days mean motorists are driving on dark roads when deer are more active, which leads to a larger number of crashes involving deer and other wildlife.”
Fall is breeding season and deer are on the move, especially at dawn and dusk. Drivers should never swerve to avoid animals in the road as it can cause loss of control of their vehicles, resulting in serious injury or death. To avoid hitting a deer, always be cautious and keep your eyes scanning both sides of the roadway.
“Distracted driving—particularly when wildlife is on the move—can be deadly,” Roark said. “Always buckle up and put your phone down when driving.”
Some collisions are unavoidable. If a deer/vehicle collision has resulted in the death of the deer, there are several options a motorist can take:
- Missouri law allows an individual who has struck and killed a deer with their vehicle to claim the deer carcass if written authorization to possess the deer is granted by a Missouri Department of Conservation agent.
- Do not jeopardize your safety to remove the animal in a high traffic area. Notify MoDOT at 1-888-ASK-MODOT (275-6636). Crews will address any deer/animal/debris on a highway that is a safety hazard, meaning that the carcass is in the driving or passing lane, or partially in either lane or on the shoulder. Crews will drag the carcass to the outer portion of the right of way, outside any active drainage ditch or channel.
- If the deer is completely off the roadway, MoDOT will not pick it up unless it impedes mail delivery or is located in a neighborhood, especially at or near a bus stop.
If a deer is located on the shoulder, MoDOT will address the deer during normal work hours. MoDOT crews will not be called out after hours to remove an item, unless it is a safety hazard. MoDOT does not have specialized crews assigned to remove dead animals from the roadway and does not contract out any roadkill removal.