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State Warns Drivers to Watch for Deer

It's that time of year when lots of deer are out.

The Pa. Game Commission has advised motorists to slow down after sundown and before sunrise to reduce their risk of having a close encounter with a white-tailed deer.

Deer collisions are an annual occurrence that will continue through Thanksgiving week and begin to slow down in mid-December.  For the sake of public safety, the Game Commission urges motorists to drive cautiously after dark for the next several months.

“It’s an unfortunate and often painful consequence of living with white-tailed deer,” Commission Executive Director Carl G. Roe said in a Sept. 21 release.

It’s not just in rural areas of the state that drivers need to be careful. State troopers from the often respond to crashes caused by deer.

“Obviously, many of these accidents are unavoidable because deer do step into the path of fast-moving vehicles. But driving defensively, or, at the very least, alertly, can give a motorist an edge in many instances," Roe said.

He noted that, with the end of daylight saving time, more motorists will be driving to and from work at the peak hours of deer activity: dawn and dusk.

Drivers who hit a deer with a vehicle are not required to report the accident to the Game Commission. If the deer dies, only Pennsylvania residents may claim the carcass.  To do so, they must call the Game Commission region office representing the county where the accident occurred and an agency dispatcher will collect the information needed to provide a free permit number, which the caller should write down. A driver must call within 24 hours of taking possession of the deer.

Antlers from bucks killed in vehicle collisions must be turned over to the Game Commission.

If a deer is struck by a vehicle, but not killed, drivers are urged to stay their distance because some deer may recover and move on.  However, if a deer does not move on, or poses a public safety risk, drivers are encouraged to report the incident to a Game Commission regional office or other local law enforcement agency.  If the deer must be put down, the Game Commission will direct the proper person to do so.

To report a dead deer for removal from state roads, motorists can call the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation at 1-800-FIX-ROAD.

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