Beautiful Meadows

A black-tailed deer enjoys one of the lush subalpine meadows that ring Mount Rainier. Lupine, American bistort, and broadleaf arnica are just a few of the wildflower species lighting up the meadow with color.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has provided recommendations for drivers during November for ways to avoid colliding with deer during the animals’ mating season.

In a press release WDFW deer and elk section manager Brock Hoenes stated the risk of striking a deer on rural and suburban roads is much higher in November, due to “atypical” behaviors during mating season. Deer can be less afraid to cross a road and can be oblivious to oncoming traffic, he gave as an example.

The department release provided “four easy things” for motorists to do in order to avoid collisions with deer: Slow down, keep eyes on the roads, use high beams when appropriate and expect more than one animal when a deer is spotted.

Going slow gives motorists more time to react, the release noted, while keeping eyes on the road makes drivers aware of hazards near forests and farms. Due to deer being most active in the evening and early morning high beams can be effective to give more time to react, as long as there are no oncoming vehicles.

The department also advised that deer often cross in quick succession so expecting more than one animal could help prevent an accident.

WDFW provided analysis of insurance claims from State Farm which put the odds of hitting a deer, moose or elk in Washington State at 1 in 258 for 2018-2019. Damages were on average more than $4,000 per incident, to say nothing of the “hassle, time, potential for injury, and stress” that come with hitting a large animal, according to the release.

The department release provided a link to a website featuring a map of deer-vehicle collisions: data.wa.gov/Natural-Resources-Environment/2016-2019-WDFW-Deer-and-Elk-Salvage-Permits/mcp7-tcwf.

Motorists in Clark and Cowlitz counties cannot salvage a deer killed by a vehicle collision, the release noted. 

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