Community Interest

Watch for Deer Movement on Area Roads as Weather Cools

MoDOT is reminding drivers to be on the lookout for wildlife movement across Missouri roads this fall. Cooler temperatures and longer nights mean drivers should be prepared for the sudden appearance of animals like deer and coyote across roads.

“Deer/vehicle collisions are at their peak from mid-October through the end of November,” said Natalie Roark, state maintenance director. “Shorter days mean motorists are driving on dark roads when deer are more active, which leads to a larger number of crashes involving deer and other wildlife.”

Fall is breeding season and deer are on the move, especially at dawn and dusk. Drivers should never swerve to avoid animals in the road since it can cause loss of control of their cars, which could result in serious injury or death. To avoid hitting deer, drivers should always be cautious and keep their eyes on both sides of the roadway. Distracted driving—particularly when wildlife is on the move—can be deadly,” Roark said. “Always buckle up and put your phone down when driving.”

Depite being cautious, some collisions are unavoidable. If you hit a deer and it dies as a result of the crash, you can claim the deer carcass if written authorization to possess the deer is granted by a Missouri Department of Conservation agent. Do not jeopardize your safety to remove the animal in a high traffic area. Notify MoDOT at 1-888-ASK-MODOT (275-6636). Crews will address any deer/animal/debris on a highway that is a safety hazard, meaning that the carcass is in the driving or passing lane, or partially in either lane or on the shoulder. Crews will drag the carcass to the outer portion of the right of way, outside any active drainage ditch or channel.

If the deer is completely off the roadway, MoDOT will not pick it up unless it impedes mail delivery or is located in a neighborhood, especially at or near a bus stop. If a deer is found on the shoulder, MoDOT will address the deer during normal work hours. MoDOT will not be called out after hours to remove an item unless it is a safety hazard. MoDOT does not have specialized crews assigned to remove dead animals from roads and doesn’t contract out any roadkill removal.