For Immediate Release
Nelson Lafon, 540-569-0023
NOTE: This news release was distributed on 11/3/2011. The information below may no longer be the most up-to-date information available, or may pertain solely to events that occurred in the past. Please contact the person listed as the contact person for this release for the most current information.
Drivers, Use Caution to Avoid Hitting Deer
Richmond, VA — With the ending of Daylight Saving Time and shorter days, many motorists will be commuting in the dark, increasing the likelihood of their vehicle colliding with a deer. The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) is encouraging Virginia's drivers to be more cautious as they travel the Commonwealth's highways this season. Deer are more active during the fall breeding season than any other time of the year, and a majority of all deer/vehicle collisions occur in the months of October, November and December. While less than 2 percent of vehicle fatalities and injuries involve deer collisions in Virginia, hitting a deer can cause considerable damage to both people and property.
Deer populations are managed with regulated hunting. The Board of Game and Inland Fisheries sets hunting seasons, bag limits, and other wildlife-related regulations based on sound science through a process that includes considerable public input. Wildlife biologists with VDGIF estimate the white-tailed deer population in Virginia at this time of year to be at approximately 900,000 animals. Each year, deer hunters harvest more than 200,000.
The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries recommends the following tips to drivers to avoid hitting a deer.
1. When driving, particularly at dusk and dawn, slow down and be attentive.
2. Deer typically travel in groups. If you see one deer, likely there will be others. If one deer crosses the road as you approach, others are likely to follow.
3. Drivers should apply brakes to avoid hitting a deer, but should never swerve out of the lane to miss a deer. A collision with another vehicle, tree or other object is likely to be more serious than hitting a deer.
4. Deer habitually travel the same areas; therefore deer crossing signs have been installed by the Virginia Department of Transportation. Use caution when you see these signs.
5. Rely on your caution and your own senses. Deer whistles mounted on the bumper of a car have not been shown to be effective.
6. Any person involved in a collision with a deer or bear while driving a motor vehicle should immediately report the accident to a law enforcement officer. Once properly documented, a driver may keep the carcass for their own use.
It is the mission of the VDGIF to maintain optimum populations of all species to serve the needs of the Commonwealth; to provide opportunity for all to enjoy wildlife, inland fish, boating and related outdoor recreation and to work diligently to safeguard the rights of the people to hunt, fish and harvest game as provided for in the Constitution of Virginia; to promote safety for persons and property in connection with boating, hunting and fishing; to provide educational outreach programs and materials that foster an awareness of and appreciation for Virginia's fish and wildlife resources, their habitats, and hunting, fishing, and boating opportunities.