deer hunting

The number of deer-vehicle collisions in Indiana County increased 5 percent last year, according to data provided by the state Department of Transportation.

Recent data from the Pennsylvania Crash Information Tool show that in the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s District 10, which comprises Armstrong, Butler, Clarion, Indiana and Jefferson counties, 412 motorists experienced a deer-related crash in 2018, mostly in October and November.

In Indiana County, there were 61 deer-related crashes in 2018. Most crashes occurred in October (16), November (eight), August (seven) and December (seven).

The breakdown in the other counties covered by District 10:

• Armstrong County: 64, a 14 percent decrease from 2017

• Butler County: 171, a 27 percent increase

• Clarion County: 57, 7 percent decrease

• Jefferson County: 62, a 6 percent increase

As the data suggest, fall marks the deer’s breeding season, and deer pay less attention and become bolder as they move around more and travel greater distances seeking mates. Other factors that affect the travel patterns of deer in the fall are farmers actively harvesting the last of their crops and preparing for spring planting, and increased activity in the woods from hunters and outdoor enthusiasts.

By following a few safety tips, motorists can help reduce the possibility of being involved in a crash with a deer. Remember to:

• Slow down and use caution, particularly where “deer crossing” signs are posted, and increase following distance between vehicles.

• Make young drivers aware of increased deer movement.

• Be especially watchful during morning and evening hours when wildlife is most active.

• Exercise caution when one deer crosses a roadway. Since deer often travel in small herds, one deer will usually be followed by others.

To report a dead deer for removal from state roads, motorists can call the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation at 1-800-FIX-ROAD.