Commonwealth officials say to be extra careful while driving, not only during the deer mating season, but also due to higher deer populations than normal. Some call this time of year “the rut.”
State Game Warden, April Whitsell, says slowing down, even if a single deer is clear of the road, can save you, your car, and your wallet.
“It’s not uncommon to have a buck chasing a doe. So with that, even if you see one approaching the roadway, it may often be more than that one deer.”
“Pennsylvania ranks among the top states as far as whitetail deer populations, but we also rank among the top states as far as hunter populations.”
According to a release from the PA Game Commission, that’s 14.4 hunters per square mile. Despite this, they say even for this time of year, the numbers are up.
I asked Whitsell, why is this the case? She says “Populations are always in flux. The game commission uses our seasons and bag limits to manage populations as a tool.”
State officials also say the harvest last year left a slightly larger portion of deer to repopulate for this year.
This on top of Chronic Wasting Disease and hemorrhagic diseases that threaten the game populations.
Whitsell says this year, the spread of illnesses is not worth sacrificing numbers of deer.
“Diseases such as Chronic Wasting Disease are spreading. Specifically, that’s why we have regulations in place against feeding, putting out food sources for deer, congregating in an area, and spreading through saliva. We don’t want to see the disease spread more than it already has.”
Game wardens say factors from this holiday season can play into a driver’s judgment, during a deer related accident.
You can learn more on this subject by going to the Pennsylvania State Game Warden website.