The chances for car-deer accidents increase this time of year because of the animal’s mating season and the search for more secure habitats, according to state officials.

The chances for car-deer accidents increase this time of year because of the animal’s mating season and the search for more secure habitats, according to state officials.

Leavenworth Police Chief Pat Kitchens said motorists should pay particular attention as they drive early in the morning and at dusk.

“Obviously, we want folks to pay attention all the time,” he said.

But there is a greater risk of car-deer accidents during the morning and at dusk.

Leavenworth County Undersheriff Jim Sherley encourages people who have to drive during these hours of the day to slow down in areas where deer may be moving between fields or bodies of water.

He said people should allow extra time for reaching their destination in case they need to slow down.

As a rule of thumb, a driver who sees one deer should presume there may be more in the area, Kitchens said.

Members of the Kansas Highway Patrol caution drivers not to make a bad situation worse by attempting exaggerated maneuvers to avoid deer in the roadway.

“If you are unfortunate enough to have a deer enter the highway in front of your car, it is best to hit the animal and not swerve to avoid it,” Lt. Adam Winters of the KHP said in a news release. “Often we find more serious crashes occur when you swerve to miss the deer, potentially losing control of your vehicle, leaving the road or veering into oncoming traffic.”

Kitchens said people should follow other safe driving practices such as observing the speed limit, wearing seat belts and not allowing themselves to become distracted by their phones.

The rut, or mating season, for deer peaks in mid-November.

“Young animals are dispersing to find new areas and breeding season is approaching,” Levi Jaster, big game coordinator for the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, said in a news release. “More animals moving means more of them are going to be crossing roads, so be extra cautious and reduce speed, especially in areas with good deer habitat.”

Kitchens said drivers should treat car-deer crashes the same as other types of accidents. They can contact the police following the accidents or go straight to their insurance companies.

For people who want to report the accidents to the police, it is best to contact law enforcement officers as soon as possible, Lansing police Capt. Ben Ontiveros said.

To report car-deer accidents that occur outside of the city of Leavenworth, people can contact the Leavenworth County Sheriff’s Office using a non-emergency number, 913-682-5724. Sherley said the Sheriff’s Office handles dispatching services for most agencies in the county.

Sherley said the Sheriff’s Office also maintains a contact list for people who are interested in butchering a dead deer after an accident. He said people interested in being added to the list can contact the same non-emergency number.

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