(UNDATED) – Annually, more than 14,000 deer-vehicle collisions are reported in Indiana.
Deer-vehicle accidents can be minimized by practicing good defensive driving skills.
Staying aware and keeping the following information in mind can help motorists reduce their chances of becoming another deer-vehicle collision statistic:
- Deer are most active at dawn and dusk.
- Deer often travel in groups. If you see one deer, another is likely nearby.
- Be especially careful in areas where you have seen deer before.
- Use high beams when there is no opposing traffic. Scan for deer’s illuminated eyes or dark silhouettes along the side of the road.
- If you see a deer, slow your speed drastically, even if it is far away.
- Exercise extreme caution along wooded edges, at hills, and during blind turns.
- Never swerve to avoid hitting a deer. Most serious crashes occur when drivers try to miss a deer, but hit something else.
What to do if you hit a deer:
- Move your vehicle to a safe place on the side of the road and turn on your hazard lights.
- Call the police. Do not approach the deer, whether alive or dead; wounded deer are unpredictable and can be dangerous. Deer can survive even a direct collision and may appear dead when they are not.
- You have the right to keep the deer for your own use with the proper permit. A local or state police officer, DNR conservation officer, DNR district biologist, or DNR property manager can issue permits to legally possess the deer. See dnr.IN.gov and search for “deer processors” if you need a place to take your deer for butchering. Thanks to the Sportsman’s Benevolence Fund, donating deer meat is also an option – participating processors will get the deer meat to those in need. It is illegal to sell wild deer meat in Indiana.
- As with any vehicle accident, follow the responding officer’s instructions.