2005 stats reveal lowest number since 1995

In Kansas, deer-vehicle accidents are common in November. Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) statistics show that November is the month when the highest number of deer-vehicle collisions occur. Motorists are encouraged to be on particularly high alert about Nov. 17 -- historically the day deer-vehicle collisions peak. One of the main reasons there is a greater potential for deer-vehicle accidents in November is the deer mating season. Deer are particularly active in the fall, with the peak mating season, called "rut," occurring in mid-November.

In addition, deer tend to widen their forage range as they build up fat reserves for the winter. They often migrate from one forage range to another during the early winter, exposing themselves on highways. A reduction in daylight hours also contributes to increased deer-vehicle collisions because deer are largely nocturnal.

In 2005, there were 8,819 deer-vehicle collisions in Kansas, the lowest number since 1995. Numbers of deer permits issued by the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks is credited with much of the decline. Deer-vehicle collisions occurred in every Kansas county. Counties with the highest populations recorded the most deer-vehicle accidents. Johnson County had the most accidents with 369, followed by Sedgwick County with 322 and Leavenworth County with 302.

Motorists should observe the following tips to avoid deer collisions:

  • be especially watchful at dawn and dusk when deer are particularly active;
  • deer seldom travel alone, so if one deer crosses a road, there may be others nearby;
  • reduce speed and be alert near wooded areas or green spaces such as parks or golf courses and near water sources such as streams or ponds;
  • don’t swerve to avoid a collision with a deer. The most serious accidents occur when motorists are taking evasive action;
  • watch out for deer crossing signs and always wear a seat belt; and
  • use bright lights and slow down whenever deer are spotted.

For more information, phone the Kansas Department of Transportation toll-free at 1-877-550-5368.