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By SUSAN LEATHERS

Brentwood Home Page

A recent automobile accident involving a deer prompted BHP reader Kelly Wallace to ask if we would “please send out a reminder or alert for deer crossings, especially in east Brentwood. I have sent public works a request for signs. There was a horrible accident last night on Split Log with a baby deer. I worry for the driver’s sake and the deer.”

By SUSAN LEATHERS

Brentwood Home Page

A recent automobile accident involving a deer prompted BHP reader Kelly Wallace to ask if we would “please send out a reminder or alert for deer crossings, especially in east Brentwood. I have sent public works a request for signs. There was a horrible accident last night on Split Log with a baby deer. I worry for the driver’s sake and the deer.”

Great idea, especially since fall marks the start of deer mating season and, as a result, the Tennessee Department of Safety cautions that an increase in deer-related crashes is likely during the months of October through December.

First we asked Brentwood Police Department Capt. Tommy Walsh for details on the Oct. 2 incident. “We’re happy to report that no humans were injured but the deer wasn’t so lucky,” he said.

“We typically see an increase in accidents involving deer during the fall. With hunting season starting, the animals move more frequently at night resulting in an increase, particularly in the more rural areas of the city.”

“We have worked 20 crashes involving deer in the past calendar year,” said Walsh, citing statistics gathered by Officer David Twiford. “Two were personal injury and the rest were non-injury. There were no serious injuries involved.”

Doug Markham of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency told BHP that if a deer is killed, his office does not need to be contacted. “If a deer, or other animals are injured, you can contact us. We respond to injured deer calls on a fairly regular basis, but if other local enforcement folks are willing to handle the issue, it is OK.”

The TWRA does occasionally work with wildlife rehabilitators who will take certain animals depending on how overwhelmed they are. “Most of them take small mammals or birds of prey, he said, but they are required to return them to the wild once treated and healed.

“Otherwise, we pretty much let nature takes its course,” Markham said. “Unfortunately, lots of critters die every year for various reasons.”

He noted that it is against the law to take home or own native wildlife of any species.

 “Motorists should always be aware of the likelihood of deer traveling on or around the roadways, no matter what time of year,” THP Colonel Tracy Trott stated in a TDOT press release posted in October of last year. “However, it is particularly important to pay attention and stay alert, especially on roads less traveled, during hunting and mating season.”

 November – the start of deer-hunting season – is the worst month for deer-related crashes, according to TDOT.

The Department of Safety and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has the following tips to help prevent deer-related crashes during peak mating and hunting seasons:

  •  Remember that mating season puts deer on the move and deer tend to move at dawn and dusk.
  • Whenever you see deer cross the road, expect more to follow. Many times, the second or third deer crossing becomes the one that motorists hit.
  • Be attentive; drive defensively, constantly scanning the roadside, especially at daybreak and dusk.
  • When you spot a deer, slow down immediately. Proceed slowly until you pass that point.
  • If you do collide with a deer, never approach the injured animal. They are powerful and can cause bodily harm to a human. Report any deer collision, even if the damage is minor.
  • Tennessee law allows deer killed in a collision to be taken and used as food, as long as you contact the nearest TWRA regional office to report the accident within 48 hours.

Walsh reiterated TDOT’s warning: “It would be very dangerous for a citizen to approach a wounded animal of any kind as they are very unpredictable.”

“There is no requirement to notify us concerning the animal,” Walsh said, but he added, “obviously if damage occurs as a result of an accident involving an animal, then the driver would need to notify police as soon as possible.”

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