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Deer car crashes are at their highest, drivers urged to stay vigilant

Courtesy of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Firearm hunting season started this past week, contributing to increased deer activity across the state. Now, state officials are urging the public to be mindful of deer road-crossings this time of year.

There were 58,984 deer-related crashes in Michigan in 2022 — up by 13% from the previous year. Approximately 18% of the crashes took place in the month of November.

Lt. Derrick Carroll, with the Michigan State Police in Gaylord, said the majority of deer crashes occur during dawn and dusk, so it's best to avoid driving during those times, if possible.

"Unfortunately when it comes to deer crashes, there's not really a whole lot you can do other than obey the speed limit, wear your safety belt and never veer for deer," Carroll said.

Deer crashes in Michigan are at their highest levels in the last decade, so Carroll said staying vigilant can help reduce the risk of injuries and death.

Deer are on-the-move right now due to increased human activity in the woods, rutting season and food scarcity.

"There's a lot of different reasons in the fall that deer are moving from different locations, but this is especially true in the hunting season," Carroll said.

For more information on driving safety, check out this guide from the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning.

Teresa Homsi is an environmental reporter and Report for America Corps Member based in northern Michigan for WCMU. She covers rural environmental issues, focused on contamination, conservation, and climate change.