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Deer on the move: Why you should keep an extra eye out for them on the roads right now

As white-tailed deer roam due to breeding season through November, drivers are more likely to come in contact with herds on and near roads.

At least a half-dozen deer collisions have been reported in Horry County this week, according to South Carolina Highway Patrol online records.

Cpl. Sonny Collins with SCHP said drivers should use high beams as much as possible, especially on rural roads.

“Always be scanning because a deer is like most animals at night — you’ll see eyes reflecting,” he said. “If you see one crossing the road, there’s typically going to be several more with it. Go ahead and slow down and be watching because there will probably be more coming.”

South Carolina Department of Natural Resources is warning drivers to be cautious of roaming white-tailed deer through breeding season, which is typically October and November.

Here are more tips about deer on roads, and what to do if you spot a deer while driving, according to SCDNR:

  • When deer are sighted well ahead of the vehicle, sound the horn several times, flick headlights, if no oncoming traffic is present, and reduce the vehicle’s speed.

  • If deer are sighted only a short distance in front of the vehicle, also use the horn and flick lights.

  • Motorists should understand that deer-crossing signs mark a stretch of road where deer have been hit previously, however, these signs do not mark specific deer trails. Deer may frequently cross for several miles where the signs are posted.

  • Rural or secondary roads rank highest in deer collisions because of the frequent curves and narrow shoulders.

  • Most serious injuries occur when motorists lose control of vehicles in an effort to avoid deer and hit immovable objects, like a tree or embankment. If a collision with a deer is imminent, it is best to hit the deer rather than risk losing control of the vehicle.

If you are in a crash with a deer, call S.C. Highway Patrol or local law enforcement to report it, and also report the collision with your insurance company.

There is good news, though, if you are in a crash with a deer: Drivers may keep the deer for consumption if there is an incident report that states the deer was hit by a vehicle and not illegally shot, according to DNR.

SCDNR reports that the state’s deer population peaked in the late 1990s along with the number of deer and vehicle collisions. Since 2000, the estimated statewide deer population has decreased about 30 percent, according to DNR.

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The Sun News Reporter Hannah Strong is passionate about making the world better through what she reports and writes. Strong, who is a Pawleys Island native, is quick to jump on breaking news, profiles stories about people in the community and obituaries. Strong has won four S.C. Press Association first-place awards, including one for enterprise reporting after riding along with police during a homicide. She earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from Winthrop University.
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