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Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany

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Deer collisions on the rise

By Jason M. Webb | | August 20, 2009

Last year, nine vehicles collided with deer on base, and this year that number has increased to 11 with more than three months left in the year.

Base officials and the Marine Corps Police Department are urging caution in the next few months as deer become more active along the roadways as it gets closer to breeding season, which begins in November.

“Fall and winter seasons are the most common time for a person to hit a deer while driving,” said Lt. Perry A. Mixon Jr., traffic/accident investigations supervisor, Marine Corps Police Department. “Deer strikes occur most often between 7 and 8 a.m., and in the evening from 6 to 10 p.m.”

The likelihood of seeing deer along the roadways increases when Daylight Saving Time ends on the first Sunday in November, according to Mixon.

Al Belanger, game warden, Environmental Branch, Installation and Environment Division, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, Ga., said the highest crossing area for deer are near the Truck Gate and along Broom Boulevard. 

The National Loss Data Institute, which studies insurance data claims, says that insurance claims for deer collisions increase three times as much for the month of November than from January through October. In the past few years, deer collisions average 1.5 million times per year and cost nearly 300 people their lives with more than 30,000 injuries in the United States alone. It also costs insurance companies more than $1 billion a year in insurance claims.

Mixon said that the best way to avoid a collision with a deer is to slow down, especially around dark, wooded areas, open fields and ponds where deer congregate for feeding during the morning and evenings.

“If a collision with a deer is unavoidable, the best thing to do is just hit it,” Mixon said.  “The main reason is because more injuries and deaths occur in those who choose to swerve — ultimately finding themselves wrapped around a tree, telephone pole or even another vehicle. Although the car may have some damage, it is likely the injuries following a deer strike will not be half as bad as if the driver had swerved.”

Mixon noted that if a driver hits a deer they must immediately report it to the Marine Corps Police Department, so that they can asses the damage of the vehicle and damage to the deer. Do not wait until getting to work to report the accident unless there is no form of communication.

Belanger said that it is important for the vehicle operator to not approach the deer after a collision because sometimes the deer is not dead and simply unconscious.

"They have very sharp feet and obviously the males have antlers. When they get up they are dazed, and they are going to run in any direction. Avoid them and call the police, and they will do the accident report," Bellangeer said.