Acorn shortage factor in deer collisions

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by Karen Hopkins, 13News Now

WVEC.com

Posted on October 28, 2013 at 1:44 PM

Updated Monday, Oct 28 at 6:00 PM

NORFOLK -- Virginia ranks twelfth in the nation for deer collisions and experts say an acorn shortage could make the problem worse this year.

“Potentially, the shortage is bringing more deer into roadways,” Pete Acker, District Biologist with Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, said Monday.

Across the state, there are generally fewer acorns this year and Acker says it’s hard to pinpoint the cause of the shortage.

“It could be weather or rainfall, but also certain species of oak only bear fruit every other year,” Acker said.

A motorcyclist struck a deer on Jefferson Avenue Sunday around 8 p.m. at the eastbound on ramp to I-64 in Newport News. The driver was ejected but survived the crash.

According to State Farm Insurance, the chances of getting into a deer collision in Virginia are one in 96. From July 2012 until June 2103, they say there were 56,759 crashes statewide.

According to Acker, the highest risk for hitting a deer comes in October and November during breeding season.

“The males are cruising around looking for receptive females, chasing around the girls like a bunch of teenagers,” Acker remarked.

Experts advise that deer generally travel in herds and if you see one, there is a strong possibility others are nearby. 

Deer are most active between 6 and 9 p.m. and using high beam headlamps can help you spot them.

If a deer collision seems inevitable, attempting to swerve out of the way could cause you to lose control. Acker said it’s best to hit the brakes. “Be careful, and keep your eyes open for those reflective eyes.”
 

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