Archive for Wednesday, October 23, 2002

Deer-vehicle accidents rise

Sheriff’s officer provides tips on avoiding mishaps

October 23, 2002

Love is in the area in Leavenworth County.

And that can be bad news for motorists.

Accidents between vehicles and deer are on the rise again in the county as deer are on the move during the 2002 mating season.

"We also generally see higher numbers in the cooler months," said sheriff's Sgt. Andy Dedeke. "I think October will probably be our high month, and November and December will probably be pretty high."

Then the deer population settles down and so does the accident rate.

Dedeke has a few suggestions for motorists:

Scan the road ahead. Be alert in the early morning and early evening. "They normally cross the road in the same area, so if you see them in one place one day, it's a good chance they will be in the same place another day," he said. "But they can break out and go where they want."

Don't swerve to avoid hitting a deer. "Try to fight that instinct to avoid it," Dedeke said. It's better to hit the deer than to run off the road or to hit another vehicle. "A deer's life is nowhere as valuable as a person's life is," he said. "It's a lot easier to replace a car."

If you hit a deer, call law enforcement officials. They will make arrangements to move the deer carcass. "Don't take the deer if you hit it," Dedeke said. "It's illegal to take a deer unless it's tagged. If you want, we'll come out and tag it for you." He also said the county maintains a list of people who want to be called if a deer has been hit. Call the sheriff's office if you're interested in being placed on that list, (913) 724-1313.

Consider placing deer whistles on your vehicle. "We recommend them," Dedeke said. "We run them on all of our departmental cars. They're really inexpensive. More than half the time, it does get the deer's attention. They'll either move out of the way or at least be alerted to you."

It's been a few years since Dedeke hit a deer, but members of his department hit two or three a year.

"I hit one my first year on the road, in 1993 or 1994," he said. "It was my only deer. I was just north of Tonganoxie on County Five. It came out of the woods and the car didn't have deer whistles. He ran from the scene. I don't know what became of him."

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