By Associated Press - Sunday, October 19, 2014

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - State highway officials are urging motorists in East Tennessee to be extra cautious now that deer hunting and mating season has arrived.

Tennessee Highway Patrol Col. Tracy Trott told The Greeneville Sun (https://bit.ly/1xW3Utt) that deer-related crashes are most likely to occur between October and January, especially in November.

“We want to urge drivers to be aware and cautious in areas where deer are populated, and, most importantly, slow down,” Trott said.

In Tennessee, there were 5,911 deer-related crashes in 2012. That’s an increase of 4.2 percent from the 5,670 crashes involving deer the previous year.

Of the 2012 figure, 5,601 resulted in property damage only, 307 involved wrecks with human injury, and three car-deer crashes resulted in human fatalities.



According to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, the state deer population numbers more than 900,000. Growth of the Tennessee deer herd is expected to increase at 1 to 2 percent per year, with most expansion occurring in East Tennessee and the Mississippi River counties.

Greene County Sheriff’s Deputy Chuck Humphreys agrees the best way for motorists to avoid striking a deer is to “slow down and be more aware of your surroundings, especially at dusk when they’re out more, and at daylight.”

“A deer can come up on you quick,” he said. “There’s so many trees that come up to about 90 percent of the roads in Greene County, a deer can be out on the road in a split-second.”

Greene County resident Stephen Sprague, who drives the back roads going to and from work, recently had a firsthand experience.

“It’s an eye-opener,” he said. “I go a little slower. I stopped fooling with the radio and lighting a cigarette.”

While deer accidents can occur on back roads, THP figures show that, between 2008 and 2012, 9.2 percent of deer-related crashes occurred on interstate highways.

According to auto insurer State Farm, there were an estimated 1.22 million collisions between deer and vehicles in the U.S. between July 1, 2012, and June 30, 2013.

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Information from: The Greeneville Sun, https://www.greenevillesun.com

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