Urban deer vs. car crashes on the rise

While Wisconsin Department of Transportation numbers show fewer drivers are killed or hurt when they hit deer, especially compared to a decade ago, the crashes in newly-developed urban areas appear to be increasing.

“Every single morning for about a month now, there have been car/deer crashes,” Madison traffic reporter Katie Austin said. “It’s been worse this year. And I’ve noticed since October, the last couple months or so, they seem to be coming in the city more than I saw in the past.”

Madison driver Rachel Perry found herself caught up in the trend of more crashes on busier roads when she almost hit an 8- to 10-point buck near the new Meriter Clinic, off McKee Road.

“All I could see was the body and the horns, and just slammed on the brakes,” Perry said. “And all I was thinking was, ‘Oh my gosh, that cannot come into my windshield.'”

Department of Natural Resource spokesperson Bob Manwell said while the DNR does not keep numbers of where crashes happen, drives have to pay extra attention to new, growing areas.

“They’re actually moving into the deer’s backyard, so they are more likely to encounter deer. Especially if they’re driving into a city, or into an urban area, from work or school or something of that kind,” Manwell said.

If drivers find themselves about to hit a deer, Manwell said they should not swerve, so they don’t hit another vehicle. Especially in deer-crossing areas, drivers are advised to slow down and watch for multiple deer, since they often travel in pairs.