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The Shawnee News-Star
  • Road safety: Deer, hog crossing ahead

  • As the leaves begin to fall and the nights get cooler and cooler, it’s that time of year where wildlife, especially deer, can quickly dart into traffic and cause collisions with unsuspecting motorists.
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    As the leaves begin to fall and the nights get cooler and cooler, it’s that time of year where wildlife, especially deer, can quickly dart into traffic and cause collisions with unsuspecting motorists.
     
    But Pottawatomie County Game Warden Mike France said while deer are usually the biggest problem for motorists this time of year, he said they’re also seeing problems with another wild animal.
     
    “Drivers need to be aware of feral hogs,” France said, adding there’s currently a large population of the wild hogs in Pottawatomie County.
     
    While deer — and hogs — can cross a roadway just about at any time of day or night, France said drivers should especially pay more attention in deer crossing areas, along with areas near creeks and low-lying areas.
     
    If a motorist collides with a deer, France said they need to make sure they’re not hurt, turn on the vehicle’s hazard flashers and get off the roadway.
     
    If there are injuries or property damage other than a vehicle, such as fence, a state trooper will need to take a report, France said.
     
    According to statistics from the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office, there were 592 crashes involving deer in Oklahoma in 2010, and two of those were fatalities — one death occurring in March and the other in November.
     
    The stats show there were 165 crashes involving some type of injury or possible injury.
     
    Alice Collinsworth, OHSO communications manager, urges all motorists to be cautious and avoid distractions while driving, especially this time of year when deer are on the move.
     
     
    “It’s always a problem this time of year,” she said. “And while many say to watch the morning and evening hours, last year there were several daytime accidents with deer.”
     
    Deer are typically more active during both the hunting and mating season, which occurs in the fall.
     
    State game wardens report that deer become active in the fall as part of the migration and mating season, which runs October through December.
     
    In situations where a deer is hit and killed, France reminds motorists that taking possession of that deer is illegal without contacting a game warden for a carcass permit.
     
    Oftentimes, France said, there is too much trauma to the animal to harvest any deer meat. In other instances, removal of deer road kills is the responsibility of the Department of Public Safety, France said.
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