With the heavily wooded areas of Woodstock and Cherokee County, there is an abundance of deer that live in the thick woods that surround this city by the river.
They're cute when you see them at Yellow River Game Ranch, annoying when they eat the vegetables from your garden. And this time of the year, deer can cause real harm to humans.
According to the Georgia Department of Natural ResourcesWildlife Resources Division there are an estimated 50,000 deer-car collisions annually in Georgia.
These types of collisions are more than just annoying and damaging to our cars. In 2011, more than 300 people were injured in deer collisions according to the Georgia Governor's Office of Highway Safety, and a total of 1,000 people have died in similar accidents between 2006 and 2010.
The Georgia Insurance Commissioner's office recommends that Georgia drivers check their automobile policy to determine if they have adequate coverage. This optional protection is commonly found in the comprehensive coverage of an automobile policy.
There are other natural and human causes which lead to increased sightings at this time of the year.
- Mating Season- Deer mating season occurs between October and early December. Male deer go into rut and begin actively searching for mates. This greatly contributes to the increased movement of deer, bringing them across roadways.
- Increased human population and rural development- As the human population continues to grow and expand into traditionally rural areas, deer lose their natural food source and consequently move into new areas in search of food and water.
- Time Changes- As we begin to “fall back” for daylight savings time, our days become shorter and nights become longer. Rush hour for most commuters tends to fall during the same hours in which white-tailed deer are most active -- dawn and dusk.
Here are a few tips and information to help motorists avoid potential collisions:
- Deer are unpredictable. Always remember deer are wild, and therefore, can be unpredictable. A deer calmly standing on the side of a road may bolt into or across the road rather than away from it when startled by a vehicle.
- One deer usually means more. Take caution and slow down when a deer crosses. Deer generally travel in groups, so if one crosses, be prepared that others may follow.
- Deer are more active at dawn and dusk. They typically are seen roadside during the early morning and late evening -- the same times most people are commuting to and from work.
- Deer are more active during this time of year. While deer-car collisions can occur any time of year, the fall breeding season is a peak time for such accidents. Road shoulders generally provide green food both during extremely dry times of the year and following a long, hard winter.
- You CAN minimize the damage. If it is too late to avoid a collision, drivers are advised to slow down as much as possible to minimize damage - resist the urge to swerve to avoid the deer, this may cause further damage, sending drivers off the road or causing a collision with another vehicle. If an accident occurs, alert the police as soon as possible.
Source: Georgia Department of Natural Resources