11 27 2014

Motorists Warned To Watch Roadways

By Julie Vaughan
Editor
A driver is blessed to walk away uninjured after a deer slammed into her front windshield while she was eastbound on State Highway 64 in Canton on Monday.
Police officer Tiffany Hall said the driver was checked out by EMS, but was “fine” after a “deer jumped in her car after being chased by a buck.”
The approximately 100-pound 2 ½ year-old Whitetail doe went half-way through the front windshield of the driver’s 2011 Infiniti.
Texas Parks & Wildlife Game Warden Steve Stapleton commented that accidents involving deer and wild hogs happen more often than one would think.
“Deer are the most dangerous animals in North America,” he said, noting this is due to the damage they cause in traffic accidents alone.
“There are more deer in this county than ever before,” Stapleton said. “In the 80’s and 90’s, it was rare to see a deer and now we have deer everywhere.”
Stapleton said this time of year, the deer are out at all hours of the day, and especially while in rut, or breeding season.
“Deer tend to move around more when they are looking for food and love,” Stapleton explained.
In this case, Stapleton said, a buck was chasing a doe that was probably in rut and she ended up hitting a vehicle.
“We’ve actually had a couple of fatality accidents involving deer and hogs in Van Zandt County,” Stapleton said.
He noted that many times motorists will install large bumpers on the front of their trucks in order to keep from having to replace it in the event of hitting a deer or wild hog.
“There have been so many accidents involving deer that we physically can’t keep up with it,” Stapleton added about this years accidents involving animal vs. vehicle.
“The mistake that many people make is they will swerve to miss the deer and end up getting hurt really bad or have a head-on collision with another vehicle,” Stapleton said. “Don’t swerve to miss the deer. Just try to center it up.”
“A lot of folks move in from Dallas and like it or not, you are going to hit stuff,” he continued. “People also make the mistake of wanting to save the deer or animal. Don’t try to help it by getting out to help because you could be the second victim.”
“People attempt to hold or comfort a deer once it has been hit,” Stapleton said. “But remember that they are wild animals.”
Stapleton said the best thing to do if a deer or other wild animal is hit, would be to call 9-1-1 or the sheriff’s office and then find out if the accident needs to be worked by law enforcement based on the damage.
Deer are traveling early morning and late at night, Stapleton said about their activity this time of year.
“Try to use high beam lights on your vehicles at night and be a defensive driver,” he continued.
Hogs are dangerous too because you have an average of 300 to 400 pounds of weight that could potentially hit your vehicle, Stapleton added, and like deer, hogs travel in groups of five or six.
Stapleton went on to note that state law prohibits motorists from picking up a dead deer on the side of the roadway to take home, so motorists need to use caution and follow the law.

Photos by Julie Vaughan and Steve Stapleton
A 2 ½-year-old Whitetail doe was killed just before noon on Monday after she was attempting to cross State Highway 64 inside the city limits of Canton. The doe jumped in front of a car, just in front of Elliott & Waldron Abstract & Title Company, then went half-way through the windshield of another vehicle. The driver was not injured, but the deer died on-scene.

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