Watch for sudden deer movement on state roads through November

Antlered Deer in the forest

Cooler temperatures and longer nights mean more wildlife movement along and across state roads. The Missouri Department of Transportation reminds motorists to be prepared for the sudden appearance of wild animals such as deer and coyote on Missouri roadways during the fall.

Deer/vehicle collisions are at their peak from mid-October through the end of November,” said Natalie Roark, state maintenance director. “Shorter days mean motorists are driving on dark roads when deer are more active, which leads to a larger number of crashes involving deer and other wildlife.”

Fall is breeding season and deer are on the move, especially at dawn and dusk. Drivers should never swerve to avoid animals in the road as it can cause loss of control of their vehicles, resulting in serious injury or death. To avoid hitting a deer, always be cautious and keep your eyes scanning both sides of the roadway.

Distracted driving—particularly when wildlife is on the move—can be deadly,” Roark said. “Always buckle up and put your phone down when driving.”

Some collisions are unavoidable. If a deer/vehicle collision has resulted in the death of the deer, there are several options a motorist can take:

  • Missouri law allows an individual who has struck and killed a deer with their vehicle to claim the deer carcass if written authorization to possess the deer is granted by a Missouri Department of Conservation agent.