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CASH Courier > Fall 2002 / Winter 2003 Issue

Selected Articles from our newsletter

The C.A.S.H. Courier
From the Fall 2002 / Winter 2003 Issue

Preventing Car-Deer Collisions:

Guidelines for Local, Township, and County Governments

Suburban sprawl and state wildlife policies have led to increases in deer populations in recent decades. More deer and more automobile use have resulted in large numbers of car-deer collisions, as documented by the insurance industry. Citizens tell officials, "Do something!" Here are some practical measures local, township, and county officials may wish to consider:

  • Remind residents that deer do not comprehend automobiles, not having evolved with this threat, and that driving slowly and carefully is the most effective way to prevent collisions.
  • Make sure residents realize most car-deer collisions occur at dawn and dusk, and hunting season and mating season bring far more collisions than other times of year. Alert drivers to those seasons.
  • Install roadside reflectors at frequent-collision stretches of road. When headlights hit them, they cause deer to think a barrier prevents them from entering the road. See www.strieter-lite.com.
  • Learn deer patterns by roadways and make practical adjustments, such as driveway guards, changes in vegetation, and more. See www.bennersgardens.com and www.wildlife-control.com.
  • Ask transportation departments of New York, California, Maryland, and other states about their recent testing of motion-detecting devices that signal drivers when animals are approaching the road.

Wildlife Watch is pleased to provide additional information and to consult with officials seeking to deal with this important public-safety matter.

Killing Deer: A False "Solution"

Since deer alone do not cause collisions and are never completely and permanently eliminated from an area, killing deer is not an effective remedy to car-deer collisions – even though residents sometimes call for deer kills and state wildlife agencies often promote them. Here are some key reasons why killing deer does not work:

  • Erie Insurance company in a 2001 Companywide Deer Claim Statistics stated that "…the 2-week hunting season in late November and early December is also a time when a large number of deer claims occur, particularly on opening day [and the first Satuirday of the season].
  • Killing deer does nothing to reduce automobile use or to ensure careful driving.
  • Killing deer does nothing to prevent surviving or newly arrived deer from entering roadways.
  • Knowing a deer kill has taken place, drivers may exercise too little caution, mistakenly thinking collisions are no longer likely.
  • Killing deer causes some animals to enter roadways as they run for their lives.
  • Killing deer disrupts subsequent deer patterns by changing groups, making the animals’ whereabouts less predictable.
  • Killing a significant percentage of deer produces rapid population growth among surviving animals. The fawn survival rate increases; does reproduce at a younger age; triplets or even quadruplets may be born rather than the usual twin fawns; and vacant territory invites deer from elsewhere.
  • Killing deer does nothing to diminish the large deer food supply provided by sprawl through the destruction of forest and the resulting abundance of low-growing vegetation, i.e., deer food.

    Deer-kill proposals and deer kills usually produce social strife. They violate the traditional humane values Americans hold dear, destroying animals unnecessarily without addressing key causes of car-deer collisions. Wildlife Watch is pleased to provide more information about the deer-kill problem and to explain this to community groups.

This flier is provided as a public service by Wildlife Watch, a 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit organization.

It may be copied and distributed without express permission.

Wildlife Watch Inc.
P.O. Box 562
New Paltz, NY 12561

845-256-1400/Fax: 845-622-7999, wildwatch@earthlink.net

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C.A.S.H.
PO Box 562 New Paltz, NY 12561
Phone 845-256-1400 Fax 845-818-3622
E-mail: cash@cashwildwatch.org
Anne Muller - President

 

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