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COLUMBIA - Fall months are deer breeding season. Wednesday the Missouri Department of Conservation reminded drivers to proceed with caution.

This year, the deer population in Missouri is a little over a million, and the department estimated about 300,000 would be harvested.

Protection District Supervisor Scott Rice said deer tend to be more erratic in the fall because they are in the breeding cycle.

Drivers have to pay close attention while driving around natural habitats. And dawn and dusk are the two time periods when deer are most active. If drivers spot one deer, they should look out for more in that area.

"Look for the eyes of the deer," said driver Mark Hughes, who has once hit a deer. "They would stand beside the road and their eyes glow a distinctive blue."

Rice said if a driver accidentally hits a deer, he should first make sure all passengers are safe and contact the insurance company. After completing paperwork with the local conservation agency, the driver can keep the dead deer.

Last year, 3,420 car accidents in Missouri involved deer, causing two fatalities.