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It’s fall, so slow down and watch for antlered pedestrians

A deer in the street.
Brian Bull
A deer pauses in the middle of a residential street on Spencer Butte in Eugene.

Drivers beware: fall is a heightened time for deer-vehicle collisions in Oregon and other parts of the Pacific Northwest. 

The Oregon Department of Transportation says it records more than 6,000 collisions between cars and deer every year, though that number is probably higher due to unreported cases. 

Beth Quillian is the public information officer for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. She told KLCC that October and November are very active times for deer and elk migration and breeding. 

“This puts them on the move, makes them more likely to cross roads," she said. "So you couple that with fewer daylight hours, and our rainy weather, and reduced driver visibility, that makes the likelihood of a vehicle collision peak.” 

Quillian said it’s important to be aware of wildlife on the roads, and to be prepared to slow down. Many crashes happen after someone swerves to miss a deer. 

Members of the public can salvage roadkill with a permit. In the case of an injured animal, local police or the Oregon State Police can be called. In a recent instance on Spencer Butte in Eugene, a young deer hit by a morning commuter had to be put down.

Brian Bull is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and remains a contributor to the KLCC news department. He began working with KLCC in June 2016.   In his 27+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional),  the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from  the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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