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Wisconsin DNR warns drivers to be on the lookout as deer-related crashes increase

Posted at 5:49 AM, Aug 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-10 07:36:17-04

MILWAUKEE — The summer into the fall months are when drivers will notice more active deer near residential roadways, according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Wildlife biologist Eric Canania said the spring into the summer months is the fawning season, when doe are looking for places to give birth and stock up on food for their fawns.

“Spring being, that is the fawning season, so we are having an influx of fawns being born during that time frame. Mothers usually hide the fawns in a secure location and they go elsewhere during the day to feed,” said Canania.

With active deer, that can mean trouble for drivers. As the fall months approach, that’s when deer-related collisions peak. In 2020, across the state there were 16,547; in 2019, that number was 18,414. In 2021, preliminary reports show this year there have been 7,105 deer-related crashes.

Canania said this is the time of year when drivers should be extra cautious.

“Definitely in the fall, the bucks are at least not paying attention when they are crossing the roads, so just being aware of that,” said Canania.

Canania said there are a few things you can do to modify your driving habits.

“Make sure that you're safe, slowing down, looking around the curves and what have you, especially during the morning and the evening hours, where they're most active,” said Canania.

To help keep track of the deer population, “Operation Deer Watch” is underway. It’s a program where the DNR is asking the public to report sightings of does and fawns. Canania said the data is important for deer population management.

“That will help us determine the pre-hunt population,” said Canania.

Canania said as does are out looking for food, they leave their fawns behind. He said if you find a fawn, it's best to leave it alone.

To participate in Operation Deer Watch, click here.

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