Ohio hunters are heading out for whitetail deer this week as gun season continues, but the vehicle you drive on state highways can be just as deadly for the animal.
In calendar year 2012, there were 20,993 vehicle collisions involving deer in Ohio resulting in six fatalities and 1,013 injuries. An untold number of additional deer-vehicle crashes go unreported to law enforcement.
"Increased deer movement typically begins around the start of fall and continues past hunting season," said Ohio Department of Transportation Director Jerry Wray. "The result can mean more deer on our highways and more crashes with vehicles."
Some counties report higher numbers of deer-vehicle collisions than others. Total reported deer collisions were highest in Stark County (558) followed by Richland County (533), Hamilton County (524), Clermont County (470) and Lorain County (470).
Huron County had 226, tying it with neighboring Erie County at No. 45 among the state's 88 counties.
ODOT advises motorists to use these safe driving tips to help avoid collisions with deer:
· See the Signs -- Deer-crossing signs are posted in higher-risk areas. Drive with caution, especially in the posted areas.
· Deer Don't Roam Alone -- Deer often run together. If you see one deer near or crossing the road, expect others to follow.
· Danger from Dusk to Dawn -- Watch for deer especially at dawn and around sunset. About 20 percent of the collisions occur in early morning, while more than half occur between 5 p.m. and midnight.
If a vehicle strikes a deer, motorists should report the crash to local law enforcement, the sheriff's department, the Ohio State Highway Patrol, or the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.