Drive with caution during deer rut season

Car-deer crashes increase during breeding season
State records show 18-20,000 crashes with deer every year in Wisconsin
Published: Nov. 3, 2022 at 6:55 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - Drivers beware, deer rut season is upon us. Animal experts call this time of year the most active time for the mammal. That means drivers are urged to be more aware while behind the wheel.

Records from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation show there are between 18,000 and 20,000 car-deer crashes every year. Those crashes can not only be dangerous but costly.

“Deer movement is increasing because of the breeding season which is ramping up into full gear right now,” said Jeff Pritzl of the Wisconsin DNR.

Deer being on the hoof more often means they’re making their way onto the roadways.

“Potentially intersecting with a vehicle more often,” said Pritzl.

The Wisconsin State Patrol is sharing some tips to keep drivers safe and avoid a deer-vehicle collision.

“We just say buckle up, slow down, scan the road ahead carefully,” said Sergeant Rhae Stertz of the Wisconsin State Patrol.

But if you do hit a deer, the State Patrol said to report the crash.

“You’re supposed to register the deer with the DNR,” said Stertz. “You do need to report it to your insurance. Those crashes are likely going to be reportable so law enforcement will show up and take care of writing that crash for you.”

It’s important to practice good driving habits because deer damage can be costly.

“This year on average we’re seeing that they start around $6,500 and increase from there. Again, it depends on the severity,” said Traci Seeger, the operations manager for Olson Auto Body & Paint.

Olson Auto Body & Paint said about 75% of their repairs are caused by car-deer collisions. Depending on the severity, it can take between one week to three weeks to fix a vehicle hit by a deer.