Breeding season increases deer activity, danger on roads

CHATHAM CO., GA (WTOC) - Your best chance of seeing a deer on the road all year, is in the next two months.

That's because deer breeding season is around the corner, and it's one more reason to be extra careful behind the wheel.

"During the breeding season, deer activity increases a lot. Bucks are seeking does, they're crossing roads a lot more frequently," said Jim Stickles, deer researcher.

Stickles led a recent study at the University of Georgia that pin-points the peak times for breeding by county.

For most of our viewing area in Georgia, it's the week of Oct. 20th.

"You can take a week before and week after, and that entire three-week span is when you should really be vigilant of deer along the roadways and in the road," said Stickles.

Peak season for coastal South Carolina begins Oct. 1st.

"Vehicles are very safe nowadays, but a deer seems to be able to do as much damage as another vehicle," said Keith Picklesimer, general manager of ABRA Auto Body and Glass.

Deer are responsible for about 14 percent of vehicle collisions in Georgia, according to the Georgia Department of Transportation.

And in South Carolina, more than 800 deer-vehicle crashes have been reported so far this year ahead of the breeding season.

"The end of September through October, maybe November, I would say a good 28 to 29 percent of the accidents that come through here will be deer-related accidents," said Picklesimer.

And hitting a deer can certainly cost you.

"It can range anywhere from a $200 to $300 repair all the way up to a $10,000 repair depending on the deer and the scope of the hit,"

The jury is still out on whether devices like deer whistles actually work.

A DNR official and the researcher who spoke with WTOC Tuesday both agreed driving safely works 100 percent of the time.

"Speed is something that you can control and your reaction to a deer crossing the road is something you can control. So that's a much better approach, I think," said Stickles.

If you want to take a closer look at the county-by-county map, click here.

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