Fall Wanderings Leave Deer Vulnerable To Hunters, Motorists

Oct 15, 2013

Deer spotted near Mammoth Cave National Park.
Credit Chris McRoberts / Flickr, Creative Commons

Since the end of World War II, Kentucky’s deer herd population has increased 900 percent.  Now, they’re a common and costly hazard along the Commonwealth’s highways.  Now is the time of year with the biggest risk of collisions.


With deer plentiful, the fall hunting season is underway in virtually every Kentucky county.  However, Mark Marraccini with Kentucky Fish and Wildlife says that certainly wasn’t the case in the 1950’s.


“If you want to think back to about the decade right after World War II, Kentucky had about a thousand deer in the entire state, and most all of those were in the western part of the state.  So, our deer herd has grown since then,” said Marraccini.


In recent years, Marraccini says the overall deer herd has hovered around 900-thousand.  Now through year’s end, they’ll be a common sight along Kentucky’s roadways.  Hunters are also a common sight, but Marraccini says they’re not the people stirring up the deer.


“The real misunderstanding or misinterpretation out there among a lot people is that there moving because hunters go into the woods.  That’s not accurate.  Hunters go into the woods because the deer are moving and it’s more likely they’ll have success,” added Marraccini.


It’s mating season for deer.  Plus, as farm fields are cleared for harvest, the animals also lose their hiding places. 


Les Dixon with the State Transportation office in Manchester advises motorists not to swerve to avoid deer because it can often result in a more serious collision with oncoming traffic.


“You know, stay alert to the signs of deer adjacent to the roadways.  That’s the key you know because our district and every other district in the state, we’re hoping each family can avoid the danger and injury as a result of wildlife activity,” said Dixon.


During 20-12, state police reported more than 27-hundred deer related crashes….there were 106 injures but no fatalities.  Dixon says Boone County in northern Kentucky led the state with 158 collisions.