Reports of Deer in the Headlights are IncreasingBy Lawayne Childrey | Published 08 Nov 2010 10:06am |
During the months from October to January, Mississippi's deer population is on the move. MPB's Patty Davis reports, the number of vehicle-deer collisions in Mississippi have quadrupled since 2008, and officials are urging motorists to use extreme caution.
November is mating season for the white tail deer, so when a driver sees one there's usually another close behind. Deer are also attracted to fresh clover that grows along the roadways. But there was no clover and only one big buck when Dwight Smith of Mendenhall had a close call on Hwy 49 recently.
Smith: I was in the left lane and I'm glad I was, because there was a deer standing in the right lane, just standing there when I went by. And I was on it before I saw it. I would have hit it if I was in the right lane. A big deer too.
Smith has attached two wind driven noisemakers to his vehicle, designed to keep animals away. The manufacturer claims they emit a high pitched whistle, inaudible to humans. But Chad Dakus with MS Wildlife Fisheries and Parks says, they don't work.
Dakus: It's on your vehicle which has to be moving forward to make a noise. The deer's in front of you, the sound is gonna be behind the vehicle. Another problem is the frequency is actually not loud enough to startle 'em.
Mississippi has an estimated deer population of one point seven five million. Dakus says fewer daylight hours during Fall and Winter combined with the increased movement of deer due to hunting and mating season, increases the risk of collisions.
Dakus: You can blink your lights but slow down and pay attention is probably the best thing you can do this time of year.
MDOT officials reported almost 15 thousand vehicle deer collisions last year . Higher vehicle volume and higher speeds on rural roads are adding to the collision numbers in Mississippi.
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