Dodging Deer

November 10, 2003 -- Posted at 7:00pm

JONESBORO, AR - Deer hunting season is open: that means open season on your vehicle.

Keith Rook, Wildlife Officer with Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, said, "There are two reasons. First, the more pressure that's put on the deer, they're gonna move around more and try to find more cover. The second reason, this time of year, the mating season or the rut comes in."

More than 750,000 vehicles collide with animals annually in the United States. According to the Insurance Information Institute, the 4-legged, furry creatures cost more than $1 billion dollars each year in damage and repairs. They're more likely to crash into motorists during dusk and dawn, and ar most concentrated near wooded areas. If you're driving under those conditions, be especially careful.

Corporal Matt Miller, Arkansas State Police, explained, "We've worked about 15 accidents in the last week and a half involving deer."

Anti-lock brakes may help drivers control their vehicles while trying to avoid the hoofed animals.

"If you do hit a deer, and there is damage to your vehicle, contact us, just like any other accident," added Corporal Miller, "We'll do an accident report on that. We have a different form for animals."

Some people think forced-air and electric deer whistles which attach to the front of vehicle bumpers work. "I personally haven't seen that they're all that useful," said Keith Rook.

Some state highway departments have installed a roadside reflector system. A series of red reflectors are placed along both shoulders of a road in a staggered pattern. Car lights bouncing off of the reflectors deter the deer from crossing the road. The system costs about $8,000 per mile.

Keith Rook has inexpensive advice: slow down, and if you seen one deer there's likely at least one other near by. If you do hit a deer, call your local sheriff's office or the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.