With May and June being active months for deer, Wisconsin Department of Transportation reminds motorists to keep on the lookout for the animals along roadways — especially for 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.
This time of year female deer search for places to give birth, while young deer also begin to separate from mothers.
Though the number of vehicle-deer crashes typically peaks in the fall, injury crashes are more common now, according to WisDOT.
In 2019 there were 18,408 reported vehicle-deer crashes, resulting in 555 injuries and nine deaths. Of the fatalities, six were motorcyclists.
Here are last year's preliminary vehicle-deer crash statistics for local counties:
- Total crashes: 14
- Total injuries: 5
- Total deaths: 0
St. Croix County
- Total crashes: 660
- Total injuries: 17
- Total deaths: 0
WisDOT in a news released offered these tips to avoid deer crashes and injuries:
- 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.
- If a collision with a deer is unavoidable: brake firmly; stay in your lane; and 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.
WisDOT works with private vendors, county highway departments and law enforcement to handle the removal of deer carcasses along state highways. To report a deer killed by a vehicle collision:
- Deer carcasses on the active, traveled portion of a highway represent an urgent safety hazard and should be reported by calling 911;
- If the carcass is off the traveled portion of the roadway, contact the appropriate county sheriff’s department using the agency’s non-emergency phone number;
- To facilitate the efficient and prompt removal of a deer carcass, provide specific location information such as proximity to a mile post, intersecting highway, exit or mailbox number.