Leavenworth County Sheriff's Office warns of peak time for deer accidents

Deer killed on Douglas County roads can mean meat on the table for those on "deer list." Enlarge photo

December 15, 2015

It’s heavy traffic season, what with big crowds heading to shopping centers for holiday shopping.

While drivers should be mindful of the increased traffic, they also should be on the lookout for more deer potentially joining vehicles on the roads.

Jim Sherley, Leavenworth County undersheriff, said that more deer-related accidents happen during late November and into December.

“Factors tied to this include the rut, or deer-mating season, hunting season and the harvest,” Sherley said. “Any external factor forcing deer movement can cause a spike.”

The undersheriff reminds drivers to slow down and drive with caution, as deer movement increases daily around dusk and dawn.

“These are peak vehicle traffic times at rush hour,” he said. “It is best practice to allow a little bit of time to get to work or home as we slow down and drive with due caution.”

Sherley offered data during the last five years for deer accidents the county worked. These are numbers for wrecks the Sheriff’s office worked and wouldn’t include those that police departments or the Kansas Highway Patrol might have worked within the county.

In 2010, there were 171 deer-related vehicle accidents. That number increased in 2011 (175) and 2012 (188).

However the number drastically dropped in 2013, with 118 cases that year.

Sherley said there were near drought conditions the previous year that diminished the deer population.

“One could speculate this caused the drop in total number of crashes,” Sherley said.

The number moved back upward with 153 wrecks in 2014. As of Dec. 3, there were 130 this year.

Sherley expects the number for the year to finish out around 150 at the current rate.

The undersheriff encourages residents to avoid oversteering or excessive braking when encountering deer on the road, as either could lead to overcorrecting and possibly the vehicle leaving the road.

“If you do strike a deer, the best practices is to remain on scene and await law enforcement,” Sherley said.

Deputies will take the report and, if needed, remove the deer from the road.

Non-emergency phone numbers for accident reporting are 913-724-1313 or 913-682-5724.

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