November is peak time for deer wrecks

7:11 PM, Nov 8, 2012   |    comments
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SUMMIT COUNTY -- For drivers, deer can be a November nightmare.

It's the time of year, at dawn and dusk, you're most likely to see deer moving about. It's their mating season, so when you find one, others are likely to follow.

"I don't mind seeing them, I just don't want them in front of me," said Doyle Huntsman.

"I've noticed since the time change this week that as I'm going home, along Steels Corners Road, that I have seen some deer by the side and a couple crossing," said Greg Sliwinski.

This month accounted for a fourth of the state's 22,000 deer accidents last year. About 615 happened in Stark County, 602 in Lorain and 599 in Richland County.

At Falls Auto Body in Summit County, another hot spot, they see the aftermath.

"You just kind of look for them all the time, because you see them so much at work. You're constantly looking for deer to run out in front of you," said General Manager Jon Gazdacko.

One shop worker even brought his own business to the shop after hitting a deer last year.

"It can do major body damage, it can do structural damage, suspension damage if they hit the deer wrong, or it goes underneath the car, just no telling, yeah, we've seen just about everything from deer," said Gazdacko.

How do can you avoid hurting yourself and thousands of dollars in repairs?

Drivers say it comes with experience.

"Stay on your toes, I mean. Don't go flying around this time of year. That's the biggest thing, and watch where you are going," said Doyle Huntsman. "Especially at night. You don't see them. I mean all of a sudden, there they are and you just hope to be ready."

If you see a deer, the best thing to do is maintain course and hit the animal. Swerving or even breaking hard, especially on a crowded roadway, is typically more dangerous than striking the deer. You don't want to lose control of the car.

What about those deer whistles you've heard of?

Jamey Graham, with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources District 3, says there's no evidence that any device can make a difference.

Graham says if you have a few extra dollars, it's certainly not going to hurt. Her best advice is being aware and knowing what to do if you stops in your path.

Keep your eyes peeled for deer crossing signs. That seems silly, but are great guidelines for known valley areas that attract animals.

If you do hit a deer, call authorities. In Ohio, you can take the deer home for consumption, but you need a receipt from law enforcement or ODNR to show you obtained it legally.


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