Deer rutting season means more caution on roadways

Published: Oct. 26, 2022 at 5:26 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - It’s rutting season and the deer are on the move. Eric Deneault is with the Kansas Department of Parks and Wildlife and says it’s that time of year.

“About the time when people are commuting to and from work is about the time dawn and dusk occurs,” said Deneault, “and so everything kind of matches up to where everyone is out driving on the roads is about the same time that the deer are really active and of course that causes a lot of accidents.”

The strong drought this year may also cause deer to travel farther to find what they need.

“This year has been relatively dry so the deer have moved around a little more,” said Deneault, “so there may be different habitats that they’re not usually in which kind of gets them out of their norm and get the traveling. They might got to travel farther to get to food or water.”

Law enforcement says when you see a deer in the road, not to swerve around, but come to a stop.

“Some of our worst crashes are fatality or injury crashes involving deer when someone tries to over correct,” said Roy Wise, a State Trooper with the Kansas Highway Patrol, “and they end up unfortunately striking a fixed object like a tree or another vehicle, oncoming traffic. That can really cause a dangerous situation so it’s best just to slow down as much as you can and remain in your lane of travel.”

13 News reported on a collision with a deer this morning along highway 75. We called a local body shop who told us that the average cost to repair a car after hitting a deer can run between $1000 up to $8000 on the high side. But if you do hit a deer be sure and pull over.

“If you’re involved in a crash that involves a deer,” said Wise, “the best thing you can do is pull your vehicle onto the side of the road, on the shoulder off the roadway, remain in the car with your seatbelt on and call star 47 for the highway patrol, you can call star KTA for the turnpike if you’re on the turnpike or of course if it’s an emergency you can always call 911.”

Last year KDOT reported more than 10,000 deer-related accidents with more than 500 injuries and 5 fatalities. All the more reason to be alert.

For a full list of how you can be better prepared, go to the KWPD website for more.