WisDOT asks drivers to be extra careful as deer activity increases

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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV)-- Authorities are calling drivers to be extra careful as deer become more active across Wisconsin's roadways in May and June.

WisDOT and the State Patrol said in a release Wednesday that female deer are now searching for places to give birth, as well as young deer deciding to separate from their mothers.

Crashes between deer and vehicles often peak in the fall, WisDOT reports. However, the May/June period is when motorists are most likely to be injured after hitting a deer.

Last year in Wisconsin, there were 18,408 reported deer-on-vehicle crashes, the DNR says, leading 555 motorists becoming injured and nine fatalities. Of the nine fatalities, six were motorcyclists.

“The best thing motorists can do to protect themselves and avoid hitting a deer is buckle up, slow down and scan the road ahead carefully,” said David Pabst, Director of WisDOT’s Bureau of Transportation Safety, in the release.

Counties with the most traffic and larger deer populations experience the most deer-on-vehicle crashes. See WisDOT's county breakdown of those incidents here.

WisDOT offers the following tips to avoid deer crashes :

  • Slow down, eliminate distractions, and make sure all vehicle occupants are buckled up. Motorcyclists should wear protective gear.
  • Deer can be seen at any time, but are most active in early morning and evening hours.
  • If you see one deer cross in front of you, watch for more. One long blast from your vehicle’s horn may frighten the animal away.
  • Brake firmly. Stay in your lane. Avoid sudden swerving which can result in a loss of vehicle control and a more serious crash.
  • Motorcyclists should slow down, brake firmly and swerve if necessary to avoid hitting the deer. Try to stay within your lane to avoid hitting other objects.
  • If you hit a deer:
    - Get your vehicle safely off the road if possible and call law enforcement. Be prepared to describe your specific location.
    - It’s generally safest to stay buckled-up inside your vehicle. Walking along a highway is always dangerous as you could be struck by another vehicle.
    - Don’t attempt to move an injured deer.