Conservation Dept. Urges Caution with Deer

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COLUMBIA - As deer hunting season kicked off this past weekend, the Missouri Department of Conservation urged drivers Monday to be extra cautious during the next few weeks. It said the number of deer-vehicle collisions tends to rise during deer hunting season. 

State Farm Insurance estimated there were more than 28,000 deer-vehicle collisions over the past year in Missouri. However, the company said that number was down 10 percent from 2009-2010 data. 

Both insurance and conservation agents agreed in some cases it is possible to prevent a deer-vehicle collision. They reminded drivers to be aware of deer crossing signs and that deer are most active between the hours of 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. They also said deer travel in herds, so if you see one you will most likely see another. 

Insurance and conservation agents stressed the worst thing a driver can do when he or she sees a deer in the road is to swerve. They said it is best to brake, grip the wheel tightly and stay in your lane. 

The Missouri Department of Conservation said the deer will be more active during these next few weeks as they try to avoid hunters and also search for mates. 

MDC said hunting season is a way of population control and that it reduces the deer numbers in Missouri each year by about 20 percent.