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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Fax: 540-483-8013

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Deer are on the move – Drivers use caution!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

By KEN BRADLEY - Staff Writer

Deer are on the move in Franklin County and other rural parts of the state, so motorists should use caution.

With Daylight Saving Time ending and shorter days, many motorists will be commuting in the dark, increasing the likelihood of their vehicle colliding with a deer, according to Sgt. Karl Martin with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF).

Fall is the breeding season for deer, and they are more active now than any time of the year, Martin said.

Coupled with that is deer hunting is now in season, he added.

"Over 1,000 deer are killed each year in Franklin County by vehicles on the road," Martin said. "And over half of all auto collisions with deer occur in the months of October, November and December."

Legal harvest of deer by hunters in Franklin County averages over 6,000 per year, Martin said.

While less than 2 percent of vehicle fatalities and injuries involve deer collisions, hitting a deer can cause considerable damage to people and property, he said.

The VDGIF offers these tips to drivers to avoid hitting deer.

•When driving, particularly at dusk and dawn, slow down and be attentive. If you see one deer, there will likely be others. If one deer crosses the road as you approach, others may follow.

•Deer habitually travel the same areas. That is why deer crossing signs have been installed along roadways. Use caution when you see these signs.

•Drivers should apply brakes, even stop if necessary, to avoid hitting a deer, but should never swerve out of the lane to miss a deer. A collision with another vehicle, tree or other object is likely to be more serious than hitting a deer.

•Do not rely on deer whistles you can buy for your car. These devices have not been shown to be effective.

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