When I think of what happens in November I think of elections, Thanksgiving, the first snowfall, the advent of winter. I don’t think about being killed by running into a deer. But November is apparently the most likely time for that to happen. And it happens to a couple of hundred people a year in the US:
In November, when it comes to avoiding deer collisions, it’s not the one you see crossing the road that’s likely to get you, according to a wildlife expert.
“It’s the one that’s chasing her,” said Dr. Billy Higginbotham, Texas AgriLife Extension Service fisheries and wildlife specialist.
Throughout the year, there’s always risk from collisions with deer on Texas highways, Higginbotham said. But deer behavior is more erratic during the peak of the breeding season, which is from Nov. 1 through December, depending upon which part of the state you live in.
“The doe may look both ways when she’s crossing the road, but the buck-in-love that’s chasing her may not,” he said. (ScienceDaily)
Since I know someone who was seriously injured when their car hit a moose, I wasn’t surprised you could be killed by hitting a deer. But I was really surprised by how often it happens. A recent report from the Highway Loss Data Institute, an affiliate of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, says that in 2007 223 people were killed when their vehicle hit an animal on the road. Texas leads the nation with Wisconsin second, Pennsylvania third. The descriptive epidemiology of animal-vehicle collisions shows that the most common time is at the peak of the mating season followed by thedead of winter (January – February) when food is scarce and deer are more likely to hang out near the side of the road. Dawn and dusk are the peak times of day. The vehicles aren’t just cars. In fact half the fatalities involve people riding motorcycles.
Of course you aren’t likely to be killed when hitting a deer. Just injured or having your car totaled. And the faster you go, especially in rural areas, the higher the risk. And often the deer gets off scot free when the driver takes instinctive evasive action and runs off the road or into a tree.
So take heed. It’s November. And that horny buck isn’t watching you, he’s watching her.