By JB Clark/NEMS Daily Journal
As the food sources for deer are consumed or begin to rot this fall, deer will be on the move and motor vehicle accidents involving deer will increase.
State Farm representatives have calculated the chances of a Mississippi motorist striking a deer over the next 12 months as 1 in 121.
Data from accident claims filed with the company shows November is the month during which motorists collide with deer the most.
The average cost of each deer-related accident claim was $3,305 in the first half of this year.
Lann Wilf, north region biologist for the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks’ Deer Program, said thanks to a good crop of white oak trees and red oak trees, the food supply of acorns is keeping deer relatively stationary for the time being.
“When you have more abundant food sources, deer move less,” Wilf said. “Right now, (they’re going to move) a little less, especially in a hardwood-dominated landscape. November can be heavy but we have enough acorns to limit movement this year.”
Wilf said in a more pine-dominated landscape, more deer movement can be expected.
“The primary time people need to be cautious is after Thanksgiving and the beginning of December extending through January,” Wilf said.
Deer rutting, their mating season, takes place in Northeast Mississippi between Dec. 20 and Jan. 20.
“During that time, deer have breeding on their mind and the rut on their mind and aren’t thinking about getting out of the road,” Wilf said. “Be conscientious and limit phone use in that period. Make sure your headlights are on. If you see one cross the road, slow down because there is probably another one behind.”
Wilf also said it’s very important not to text and drive, especially during this season of increased deer movement.