'Buckle up, slow down:' Increase in deer activity requires motorists to be alert

MADISON -- Officials with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) and Division of State Patrol are reminding motorists to be extra alert for deer along roadways. Deer activity typically increases during May and June as females search for places to give birth and young deer separate from their mothers.

“The best thing motorists can do to protect themselves and avoid hitting a deer is buckle up, slow down and scan the road ahead carefully,” said David Pabst, director of WisDOT’s Bureau of Transportation Safety.

Crashes between deer and motor vehicles tend to peak in the fall, however the May/June period is when motorists are most likely to be injured in a deer/vehicle crash. Last year in Wisconsin, there were 18,408 reported deer/vehicle crashes, resulting in injuries to 555 motorists and nine fatalities. Of the nine fatalities, six were motorcyclists.

Counties with higher traffic volumes and deer populations tend to record the most crashes. A county-by-county breakdown indicates Dane County had the most reported deer/vehicle crashes in Wisconsin last year with 859, followed by Waukesha County with 823 and Washington County with 758.

WisDOT offers the following tips to avoid deer crashes and motorist injuries:

    If you hit a deer:

      WisDOT works with private vendors, county highway departments and law enforcement to handle the removal of deer carcasses along state highways.

      To report car-killed-deer:

        Drivers should be prepared to move over or slow down when approaching stopped emergency responders, tow trucks and highway maintenance vehicles - including crews removing deer carcasses. More information on the Car-Killed-Deer program can be found on the WisDOT website.