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Deer are on the roads again - be on the lookout

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opinion Park Rapids,Minnesota 56470
Park Rapids Enterprise
Deer are on the roads again - be on the lookout
Park Rapids Minnesota PO Box 111 56470

It's that time of year again.

Frost is appearing on the car, the days are getting shorter and deer are more prevalent than ever on roads.


Taking a few extra minutes to drive more slowly and use extra caution could help to avoid hitting a deer. Deer are especially difficult to see as trees and grass are changing color this fall.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources reports more than 20,000 deer-vehicle accidents annually but estimates that only a third of the accidents are actually reported.

Be especially alert before sunrise and after sunset. Hitting a deer can cause significant vehicle damage and possibly injure drivers and passengers depending on the crash.

Sometimes hitting a deer is unavoidable, although it doesn't hurt to be on the lookout.

The DNR offers the following tips to motorists:

-Motorists should not rely on deer whistles or deer fences to deter deer from crossing roads. Stay alert.

-Watch for the reflection of deer eyes and for deer silhouettes on the shoulder of the road. If something looks slightly suspicious, slow down.

-Slow down in areas known to have a large deer population, where deer-crossing signs are posted, where deer commonly cross roads or where roads divide agricultural fields from forest land, and in forested areas between dusk and dawn.

-Motorists should not swerve to avoid a deer. Swerving could cause the vehicle to strike another vehicle, tree or object.

-Deer are unpredictable. They stop in the middle of the road while crossing, sometimes crossing and re-crossing the same path. Assume nothing, slow down and blow your horn to urge the deer to leave the road.

Hitting a deer can be frightening and inconvenient. But if there is a silver lining to hitting a deer, it's that any Minnesota resident could claim it as long as a law enforcement officer is contacted. A permit will be issued for the deer.

Just remember. It's that time of year again and the deer are out running. Be alert.