OCT. 25, 2011 -- The Missouri Department of Conservation is warning drivers to be alert for white-tailed deer on or near roadways.
Now through mid-November is peak breeding season for white-tailed deer, said Joel Porath, St. Louis regional wildlife supervisor for the Conservation Department. Cooler temperatures, crop harvesting and falling foliage also contribute to greater deer activity, according to a department news release.
Deer aren't just a concern in rural areas. In 2010 almost a third of traffic crashes involving deer occurred in urban areas, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol. More than 300 deer-related accidents happen each year in St. Louis County, Porath said.
"If you take the St. Louis area as a whole, there are [deer-related] vehicle accidents that can occur anywhere," Porath said. "Through the last decade, there have been some hot spots in the western part of St. Louis County."
To avoid striking deer while you're out and about with your famiy, Porath urges drivers to slow down and be cautious on all roadways, particularly at dusk or dawn.
"Maintain the speed limit or below especially in areas where you see signs for deer crossing," he said. If you see deer on the shoulder or near a roadway, be alert as they often run onto the road even as a vehicle approaches.