Collisions between vehicles and deer increased during the past year, but motorists can take steps to avoid joining the statistics, according to a state wildlife official.
Keith Sexson, big-game program coordinator for the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, said bucks will be searching for mates during rutting season, which lasts from late October through November with peak activity in the middle two weeks of November.
He urged motorists to drive cautiously and stay alert.
"Anytime they're going through areas with woody vegetation or stream crossings, be aware that that's good deer habitat," Sexson said.
Drivers should keep their speed down, watch for gleaming eyes or movement in the brush on the side of the road, pay attention to deer-crossing signs and look far enough ahead to avoid an accident if deer sprint out in front of the car, he said.
DEER TRAVEL in groups, he said, so if one runs across the road, motorists should prepare for others to follow.
In 1990, officials reported 3,466 deer-vehicle accidents statewide, Sexson said. In area counties, Douglas tallied 73 such accidents; Jefferson, 70; Leavenworth, 131; Franklin, 85; and Johnson, 181.
In 1989, 3,150 deer-vehicle accidents were reported across Kansas. The total number of deer-car collisions per miles traveled in the state also has gone up in the past year. In 1990, 417 deer were killed per billion miles traveled, up from 382 in 1989.
The figures mark the first increase in the number of deer killed by vehicles since 1986, when it peaked at 519 per billion miles traveled.
"It was looking pretty good for a while there, but we jumped up a bit this year," Sexson said.
ACCORDING to a spokeswoman at the Douglas County sheriff's office, authorities receive occasional reports of deer-car collisions, but the number always increases around this time of the year.
The Jefferson County sheriff's department already has received an influx of deer-car accident reports. "This past week is when it really started," the spokeswoman said. "One night we had three or four reports."
In efforts to curb the frequency of deer-vehicle accidents and also crop damage, wildlife officials have taken steps to stabilize the deer population. They are continuing to issue "antlerless-only permits" for hunters to reduce the number of does and slow the reproduction rate, Sexson said.