Local News

October 22, 2012

It's the time of year for deer

Drivers should take care as breeding season peaks

PLATTSBURGH — It’s the time of year to take extra care to watch out for deer on local roadways.

Beginning in October, the peak of deer-breeding season starts bringing the animals out of the woods and into the roads, causing potentially serious collisions, according to Cornell University natural-resources professor Paul Curtis. 

Since 1990, he has coordinated the Wildlife Damage Management Program for Cornell Cooperative Extension. Curtis understands the dangers of the animal’s annual breeding peak.

“About two-thirds of the deer-car collisions that occur each year in New York happen during October, November and December,” he reported.


In New York, Curtis said, the accidents are at their peak during early November as female deer are being chased by bucks looking to breed, making them less than attentive to oncoming traffic.

“With this additional deer movement during breeding season, deer cross highways more frequently, increasing the probability of collisions with cars,” he said.

“In addition, with shorter days this time of year, the normal peak in deer movement near dusk and dawn coincides with rush-hour commuter traffic.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports about 1 million car accidents involving deer across the country annually, resulting in 200 fatalities and about 10,000 injuries to drivers and passengers.

The administration estimates the accidents cause nearly $1 billion in damages to vehicles.


The State Department of Transportation is continuing to work with the Department of Environmental Conservation and Thruway Authority to ensure roads that are frequently crossed by deer are clearly marked with plenty of warning signs.

But being cautious sometimes isn’t enough, said Sgt. Frank Mercier of the Clinton County Sheriff’s Department.

He’s had a few run-ins, literally, with deer while on patrol and in his own car.

Mercier hit a four-point buck near the Champlain Centre mall and also had to dodge a deer that ran into this patrol car near the missile silo in Saranac.

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