Columbia County expects record number of vehicle-deer collisions

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October 4, 2006

Autumn is a busy time of year. The weather is changing and the holidays are approaching.

Did you know fall is also a busy time of year for wildlife collisions?

Columbia County had 403 deer collisions last year. And with the county's growth, Animal Control officials expect to set a new record this year.

They also have a warning for drivers.

The routine doesn't change for Daniel Mayne and his crew.

Every day, they pick up dead animals and fill the animal shelter's incinerator. On average, one to four deer are picked up each day.

"All the development in Columbia County...their natural habitat is being taken away for subdivisions," Mayne told News 12.

Last year Columbia County picked up 400 deer. So far this year they've picked up 256.

They expect to have a record number this year with October, November, and December being the busiest months for deer-car collisions.

"For the deer, that's when they are moving around a lot," said Linda Fulmer, director of Animal Control. "We are picking them up daytime and nighttime, it really doesn't matter."

The rise in the deer population has led to an increase in collisions.

"More people are coming in, and their population is just being destroyed," Fulmer said.

And as the weather changes and animals start to look for food, you may find yourself sharing the roadways.

Columbia County has issued the following advice for residents:

Slow down and don't swerve out of your lane to avoid hitting a deer. But if you hit the animal, don't touch it. A frightened animal can hurt you or further injure itself.

When driving at night, use high beams when there is no oncoming traffic.

Don't rely on deer whistles, deer fences, and reflectors. These devices are not proven to reduce deer-vehicle collisions.

And, of course, wear that seatbelt.

To learn more about how to drive defensively, click here.