ITHACA, N.Y., Oct. 18 (UPI) -- Deer/vehicle collisions kill 200 people and injure nearly 10,000 more and cause about $1 billion in vehicle damage each year, a U.S. wildlife expert says.
Paul Curtis, a professor of Natural Resources at Cornell University and a nationally recognized expert on rural, suburban and urban wildlife, said the peak time for deer/vehicle collisions is fall.
"The numbers of deer-related vehicle accidents are highest each fall as the peak of deer breeding season approaches. About two-thirds of the deer-car collisions that occur each year in New York happen during October, November and December," Curtis said in a statement.
"Motorists should be more alert for deer at this time of year, especially in early morning and around dusk. If a deer-car collision is inevitable, it is better to hit the deer, than to swerve and try to avoid it. People are more likely to be injured if their car leaves the roadway, or they cross lanes into oncoming traffic."
Deer-vehicle accidents peak in November, as does the rut -- deer breeding season -- which usually peaks during early November in New York. Bucks are chasing does for breeding possibilities, and deer are less attentive to traffic, Curtis warned.
With this additional deer movement during breeding season, deer cross highways more frequently, increasing the probability of collisions with cars.
The shorter days collide with the normal peak in deer movement near dusk and dawn, which coincides with rush-hour commuter traffic increasing the likelihood of deer-vehicle accidents, Curtis explained.