Mick Klemesrud, with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, says late May into the early part of June is the second-worst time of the year for deer running into traffic.
“It’s primarily due to the birthing season,” Klemesrud says. “Our does are running off last year’s fawns, telling them it’s time to be on their own. Then, she’s going to be looking for a secluded area, maybe a nontraditional area, where she feels comfortable and can deliver this year’s fawn.” Only November ranks higher than June for vehicle-deer collisions. And the animals aren’t just darting into traffic early in the morning or late at night.
“They can be on the move at any time,” Klemesrud says. According to the Iowa Department of Transportation, 12 people were killed in vehicle crashes with deer in Iowa over the last four years. Hundreds of other people were injured, while thousands more have at least dealt with deer-related damage to their cars or trucks.
The DNR has a deer advisory board, which has agreed to a statewide deer population that supports an annual hunting harvest of 100,000 to 120,000 deer. “Last year, we harvested 105,000 – so our herd is on the lower end of that harvest goal,” Klemesrud says. “I think we’re in that range of where we find (the deer population) socially acceptable.”
Another reason for the rise in vehicle-deer crashes this time of year involves the increase in cars on Iowa roads due to the start of the summer travel season.