New Jersey warns drivers that deer are more likely to cross roads and highways during mating season

WYCKOFF, NJ — A warning for New Jersey drivers: watch out for deer!

It’s mating season and that means more sightings, and possibly more collisions, CBS2’s Nick Caloway reported Friday.

Even in the most densely populated state in the country, locals are used to seeing deer all over the place.

But as the mating season begins, deer are more likely to cross roads and highways, increasing the danger to drivers.

“They are really adorable. But you have to be careful,” said Father Aziz John Hadodo, of New Milford.

Call him blessed, but Father Hadodo never hit a deer.

“Once in a while you see some that have been hit by cars. But so far I’ve been lucky I haven’t hit any,” he said.

Pino Angiulli cannot say the same. A male ran in front of his car last fall.

“I was one of the lucky ones. Let’s put it that way,” he said. “I hit him, he bounced, his body landed and his antlers ended up here.

Angiulli, owner of RSR Auto Body Restoration in Wyckoff, says many customers arrive with costly deer damage this time of year.

“I mean, it can range from $6,000 to over $20,000,” Angiulli said.

It’s a similar scene 20 minutes west of Wayne. The Paul Miller Performance Collision Center has been seeing two to five clients hit by a deer a week lately.

For a damaged BMW, “it’s going to cost between $10,000 and $15,000, and I think it was hit at low speed,” manager Al Grazioli said.

In addition to the cost, Grazioli said it was difficult to get parts due to a broken supply chain.

“We have cars here now. We’re waiting for the headlights, they’ve been out of Germany for three months. And that’s a big inconvenience for customers,” Grazioli said.

State estimates indicate that there are more than 125,000 deer in New Jersey. Every year there are thousands of collisions between drivers and deer. Most take place at this time of year.

The peak deer breeding season in New Jersey runs from late October to mid-December. Authorities are urging drivers to slow down, especially at dawn and dusk.

Avoid collisions with deer

According to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection:

  • If you see a deer, slow down and watch for sudden movements. If the deer doesn’t move, don’t walk around it. Wait for the deer to pass and the road is clear.
  • Pay attention to the “Deer Crossing” signs. Slow down when passing through areas known to have a high concentration of deer so you have plenty of time to stop if needed.
  • If you are traveling after dark, use the high beams when there is no oncoming traffic. Driving lights will be reflected from the eyes of deer on or near roads.
  • If you see a deer, be on your guard: others may be in the area. Deer generally travel in family groups at this time of year and cross roads in single file. Female deer are hunted by males and during the breeding phase they often ignore traffic.
  • Do not tailgate. Remember: the driver in front of you may have to stop suddenly to avoid hitting a deer.
  • Always wear a seat belt, as required by law. Drive at a safe and reasonable speed, taking into account weather, available light, traffic, curves and other road conditions.
  • If a collision seems inevitable, don’t swerve to avoid impact. The deer may suddenly counter-maneuver. Brake properly, but stay in your lane. Collisions are more likely to turn fatal when a driver swerves to avoid a deer and collides with oncoming traffic or a fixed structure along the road.
  • Immediately report any collision between a deer and a vehicle to a local law enforcement agency.

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