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Hunting Season is here... And wildlife are running

Hunting and Rutting Season
Hunting Season is here... And wildlife are running for their lives!

Two key factors during the fall can prove deadly for deer and your car. During the fall, deer are in their breeding or rutting season (usually late October to early December). Often times you will find deer sprinting across the highway because they are either after a female or being chased by a male. Unfortunately there is also another factor that comes into play during this time of year: The Hunter. Although many claim that "hunting" can reduce deer-auto accidents. A 2002 study by Friends of Animals found that hunting actually exacerbates roadway deer-auto accidents because hunting (gunshots) can frighten deer who dart across roadways. About half of all these collisions occur in just three months: October, November, and December - hunting season. During the autumn, the average number of deer hit by cars jumps from 550 per month to over 1,700 per month. The Erie Insurance Company in Pennsylvania found that the number of deer hit in 1997 increased five-fold on the first day of hunting season.

Nevertheless, state environmental and wildlife management agencies encourage hunting in more communities every year, using the spec of cars mangled by runaway deer to scare local communities into enacting hunting regulations in new areas and expanding hunting in areas that already allow it. This too is an opportunity for gain. Government wildlife agencies collect money when they license hunters. Add matching funds from the federal government, and hunters effectively become the clients of these agencies.

Hunting leads to car accidents
August 6, 2007
Argus Leader
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
By Joan K. Lownds

The Argus Leader recently reported that South Dakota state officials are considering shooting some of Pierre's deer to keep roads safer for drivers ("Efforts look to curb deer-related car crashes," July 28).
Examining the data, we have found strong evidence that hunting exacerbates roadway deaths of deer. About half of all these collisions occur in just three months: October, November and December - hunting season. Not surprising, given that hunters can frighten deer into unsafe movements, including darting into traffic.

Viable solutions exist such as better speed limits, public service reminders to drive slowly in areas where deer abound, road reflectors and greenways. And South Dakota officials are to be commended for their use of fences, whistles and warning signs to try to keep the number of deer-related traffic accidents to a minimum.

Ed Rodgers, operations maintenance engineer for the South Dakota Transportation Department, said large electronic billboards will be used in the coming autumn to warn motorists to remain alert during deer mating and hunting seasons. From that statement, it's fairly inferred that motorists must be more vigilant at these times because of the problems created in part by hunters.

There is no surefire way to end collisions as long as people drive cars. And hunting is far from a surefire way. It's ethically problematic as well.

We should all be doing our best to live peacefully with deer, remembering that they have interests in their territories that ought to be respected

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