Deer on roadway create safety hazard for drivers
White tail deer are out in numbers this autumn, resulting in numerous traffic accidents on area highways.
Although Bonner Springs has seen a slight decrease in the number of deer-related traffic accidents in the past couple of years, Edwardsville has had an increase and Basehor continues to have a number of deer-related accidents.
"They seem to be more active in this area since they started building the speedway," Edwardsville Police Chief John Ellison said.
When construction began on the Kansas Speedway at I-70 and I-435 in northwest Wyandotte County last year, the deer lost about 400 acres of forests and fields.
The deer have moved south into the Edwardsville area, authorities said.
From October through December 1998, Edwardsville had seven deer-related traffic accidents. The next year, when construction began on the speedway, Edwardsville had 11 deer-related accidents, not including the four police patrol vehicles that struck deer while on duty.
"One buck almost went through the driver's side door of one my officer's vehicle," Ellison said.
This year, there have been 12 deer-related traffic accidents in Edwardsville and two accidents involving police vehicles, according to police records.
Fall is deer mating season. Also referred to as the rutting season, male deer bucks are on a hormonal rampage for does. Deer movement is heavy at night, and they are not apprehensive about running across roadways.
"We have a lot deer crossing on Parallel, between 147th and 150th (streets)," Basehor Police Chief Vincent Weston said.
Basehor police spotted at least six deer in the roadway near the veterinarian hospital during the weekend night shift.
"It looks as though they're all going in for a check up," Weston said.
Two weeks ago, a Basehor animal control officer hit a deer with his patrol vehicle. The truck sustained minor damage, but the deer was killed.
Another highly populated area with deer-related traffic accidents in Basehor is State Avenue between 142nd and 158th Streets.
"They just pop out anywhere along there," Weston said.
Police also handle a high number of accidents in the Wolf Creek area along 24-40 Highway.
"Since the speed is 65 mph out there, (deer) don't have much of a chance to make it across," Weston said.
Deer-related traffic accident numbers were unavailable in Bonner Springs. However, police Det. Tim Pierce said he thought those numbers were down from the previous two years.
"I know we had a high number of accidents three years ago, but they've gone down since then," he said.
Police Sgt. Rick Schubert said K-7 Highway in Bonner Springs, especially near 1-70 and Riverview Road, has a high number of deer-related traffic accidents.
The colder weather this fall has made deer more active within Bonner Springs, but hasn't caused an increase in traffic accidents, Pierce said.
All three cities have laws prohibiting residents from hunting deer within the city limits and it's against the law to take a deer that has been killed in a traffic accident without receiving prior authorization.
Anyone interested in claiming a deer killed in a traffic accident in southern Leavenworth County must have his or her name placed on a deer list by contacting the Leavenworth County Sheriff's Department at 724-1313.
Bonner Springs and Edwardsville residents can contact their local police departments for more information on claiming deer.
Also anyone involved in a car dear accident should report it immediately and not drive away from the accident.
"They have to have a police accident report for insurance purposes," Weston said. "It also gives us the opportunity to check if the deer is dead or injured."