Whitetail deer have started rutting across Oklahoma which means motorists should be wary of deer running across the roadways.
Game Warden Rick Cagle, whose district covers Kingfisher, Blaine, Canadian, Grady, Caddo, Comanche, Cotton, Jefferson and Stephens, said Monday night that he’s received 10 reports of vehicle-deer collisions just in the last few days.
“It’s just now starting (the rut) so it’s going to get worse,” he said. “People better be aware and watch out what they are doing when they are driving.”
The rut is the breeding season for whitetails and the time when bucks begin actively chasing does. When it starts, the deer are on the move and not paying much attention to roads and motorists.
“We are getting them hit everywhere,” Cagle said. “Northwest Highway is a popular place for hitting deer. There are lots of traffic and lots of deer.”
The Oklahoma Highway Safety Office reports that 15.8 percent of all reported vehicle crashes in Oklahoma last November involved an animal. Because November is the deer breeding season, the OHSO issued the following safety trips for drivers.
- Be sure everyone in the vehicle is buckled up
- Avoid distractions; Keep your eyes on the road
- Do not swerve and leave your lane to avoid an animal. Many crashes are caused not by the animal, but by driving into another tree, a sign or other object.
- Drive at a safe speed. Always obey the speed limit and drive more slowly in wildlife areas. Be able to stop within the space of your headlights.
- Heed the warning signs. A deer crossing road sign is there for a reason.
- Actively watch both sides of the roads for signs of wildlife
- Be especially careful at sunset and sunrise when animals are most active.