'Be extra cautious': DNR, DOT warn drivers ahead of deer season

’Be extra cautious’: DNR, DOT warn drivers ahead of deer season

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- As the fall season continues, Wisconsin's Department of Natural Resources and Department of Transportation are both warning drivers to be on the lookout for deer when driving on the roadways.

"We're about to enter one of those peak periods which really is the last week of October, the first two weeks of November," explained Jeff Pritzl, Deer Program Specialist with the DNR. "Basically, revolves around the breeding season for white tail deer."

According to Pritzl, during this timeframe, the deer are spending more time on their feet, moving around and looking for each other, making it more common for them to find their way into the path of motor vehicles.

"A lot of Wisconsin is deer country now," Pritzl explained. "You just need to be watching the shoulders of the road real carefully. When you see one deer, expect that there's more."

According to the DOT, Wisconsin saw 16,278 crashes involving deer in 2022, up 74 from 2021. Those crashes included 537 injuries and five deaths.

The Wisconsin DOT shared these reminders for drivers as the state heads into another deer season:

• Always scan the road ahead carefully for deer.

• Deer can be seen at any time, but they’re most active in the early morning and evening hours.

• Headlights can confuse a deer and cause it to freeze.

• If one deer crosses, watch for more. Honk your horn to frighten away any other animals.

• If you can’t avoid hitting a deer, brake firmly and stay in your lane. If there are other vehicles nearby, do not swerve suddenly. Colliding with another vehicle can result in a more serious crash than hitting a deer.

Pritzl says being vigilant can help you not add to the statistics in 2023.

"It's a matter of being more anticipatory or defensive driving," Pritzl said. "Be aware and be extra cautious this time of the year."

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