ItвЂ™s nice to have extra daylight in the morning. But if youвЂ™re driving in deer country, Daylight Savings Time can be a mixed blessing later in the day.
As soon as the sun goes down, deer get active and start to feed. Having the sun go down one hour earlier in the evening, when many people are coming home from work or leaving home for the nightвЂ™s activities, can spell trouble.
More information about the number of deer that are killed on UtahвЂ™s roads will be gained through studies the Division of Wildlife Resources is conducting in cooperation with Utah State University. вЂњThe studies will give us better numbers,вЂќ says Anis Aoude, big game coordinator for the DWR.В вЂњBut even without solid numbers, we know a lot of deer are killed on UtahвЂ™s roads every year.вЂќ
And itвЂ™s not just the total number of deer that are killed thatвЂ™s concerning. UtahвЂ™s deer herds contain mostly does and fawns. Unlike the hunting season — when mostly bucks are taken — does and fawns are the deer that are usually killed by vehicles.
вЂњLosing a buck isnвЂ™t as critical to the overall health of the deer herds,вЂќ Aoude says. вЂњOne buck will breed several does. But every doe thatвЂ™s lost means fewer fawns in the stateвЂ™s herds the next summer.вЂќ
Fortunately, you can do several things to reduce the chance that you hit a deer while driving:
- While you can hit a deer any time of the day, be especially careful when itвЂ™s dark. Remember, deer feed actively as soon as the sun goes down.
- Slow down, especially if youвЂ™re driving at night.
- Instead of looking straight ahead, be aware of whatвЂ™s happening on the edge of the road. ThatвЂ™s the area from which a deer can spring into your path.
- Remember that deer usually travel with other deer. If you see one deer, itвЂ™s likely other deer are just off the edge of the road. Any of those deer could spring into your path.
- If you see a deer in the road and realize you canвЂ™t slow down enough to avoid hitting it, donвЂ™t swerve. If you swerve at high speed, you might lose control of your vehicle and go off the road. Hitting a deer is better than rolling your car.
- If cars arenвЂ™t approaching you from the opposite direction, keep your high beams on as much as possible. Having your high beams on will help you see deer at a greater distance.
- If youвЂ™re traveling on a multi-lane road, travel in the inside lane instead of the outside lane. Traveling in the inside lane will put more distance between you and deer along the side of the road.