Motorists Urged to Use Caution as Deer Activity Increases

CUSTER COUNTY–Although it may seem as deer are always active in Custer County, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission (NGPC) reminds drivers to be extra cautious this fall as deer become more active this time of year.

With crops being harvested and deer breeding season in full swing, NGPC has suggestions to help drivers avoid deer-vehicle accidents and lessen the risk of injury or vehicle damage.

Custer County Sheriff Dan Osmond said if drivers hit a deer, they should safely pull to the side of the road and call the sheriff’s office or 9-1-1 to report the accident.

“If you hit a deer, you need to pull off to the side of the road and make a nice slow, steady stop, don’t do anything erratic, don’t jerk the car or stuff like that. Find a safe place to pull off, get out, check the damage. See what your vehicle is like–is it operable? You know, what’s going on? Check for the deer, see if the deer is still on the road,” Sheriff Osmond said.

Sheriff Osmond also reminds the public to put hazard lights on and make sure you and other drivers stay safe.

“Make sure that you stay safe,” Sheriff Osmond said, adding that the Sheriff’s office can help drivers call a towing company if needed.

The NGPC outlines the following safety suggestions to avoid collisions with deer:

— During the breeding season, bucks become more active searching for does with which to breed. Bucks are bolder, less wary and more susceptible to collisions with vehicles. Deer movement peaks each day near dawn and dusk.

— Anticipate the possibility of a deer on the road and plan how to avoid a collision. Be prepared to stop suddenly, but braking too sharply or swerving may cause you to lose control and roll your vehicle.

— Wear your seat belt.

— When driving near shelterbelts, woodlots or creeks, especially during evening or early morning, slow down and watch for deer. Keep your headlights on bright if there is no approaching traffic.

— When you spot a deer, assume there will be others in the same area.

— Deer often seem to be disoriented or confused by headlights. Some react by freezing in the light, some dart into the path of the vehicle and others bolt away. Honk your horn and flash your headlights to frighten deer away. If there is other traffic on the road, activate your emergency flashers and tap your brakes to alert other drivers to the potential danger.

— Many places where deer-vehicle collisions occur are posted with deer crossing signs.

— If a deer is struck, the driver may take possession of it but must contact a Game and Parks conservation officer within 24 hours to obtain a salvage tag. View conservation officer phone numbers at OutdoorNebraska.gov/ConservationOfficers.

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