My favorite time of year is Harvest Season. I love the cooler weather, wonderful colors, fall parties, and watching the farmers in their fields. Fall is also deer season…not just deer hunting season, but also “watch out for that deer” season.
As the corn and beans grow during the summer deer can easily move from woods to woods without being detected and with very little human interaction, but when it’s time to cut beans or pick the corn that all changes. Grain farmer will confirm that they lose crops every year from deer who feed on the corn and beans.
When the harvest starts and combines go into the fields, deer sometimes freak out! They run, and sometimes they run right into a car.
To compound the issue bow hunting season starts (this year on October 1st) and then shot gun hunting season (this year on November 16th.) Deer are constantly on the move, trying to avoid tractors, combines, and hunters.
Deer are also nocturnal and with our diminishing daylight hours they are much more active in the fall and winter months. Nearly 50% of all deer related accidents happen between the months of October and December.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration about 1 million car accidents each year are a caused by deer / vehicle collisions. These collisions kill about 200 people each year (not to mention a lot of deer). The accidents cause about 10,000 personal injuries and cost about $1 billion in property damage.
If you’re from Indiana, I don’t have to tell you that hitting a deer can cause a lot of damage and even death. In fact, I will bet you have either hit a deer yourself, or personally know someone who has.
What can you do to protect yourself?
1. Be on Alert! Especially at dawn and dusk, this is when deer are on the move. Also be aware of your surroundings. Are you driving in a rural area where deer are more likely to be seen? Are there farmers in the fields?
2. Watch your speed. If you are in an area and/or at a time where deer are likely to be seen, take your foot off the accelerator and slow down.
3. Use your high beams. Look for deer in the headlights.
4. If you see one deer there are likely to be more and take precautions.
5. Don’t swerve. This may cause you to lose control and hit another vehicle or lose control of your vehicle.
6. Wear your seat belt! Many deaths and injuries are a result of being thrown through the windshield. Seat belts save lives.