City designates Deer Awareness Month

By: Linda Shepard | Rochester Post | Published October 3, 2012

ROCHESTER HILLS — City officials have proclaimed October Deer Awareness Month.

“We encourage all citizens to drive cautiously and carefully, and be aware of deer crossing the roadways,” said Rochester Hills City Council President Greg Hooper Sept. 24.

Members of the city’s Deer Management Advisory Committee warn motorists of the increased prevalence of deer activity and the subsequent risk of deer-car crashes during the fall mating season.

Rochester Hills is listed as the second highest 2011 deer crash community in Southeast Michigan by the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments, which released deer crash statistics Sept. 26. Scio Township in Washtenaw County tops the list.

According to SEMCOG, 139 deer-car crashes were reported in Rochester Hills last year out of 2,216 total car crashes. That means 6.3 percent of all car crashes were with deer.

Oakland Township nabbed the third spot on the list — with 111 deer car crashes out of a total of 259 car crashes, meaning deer-car crashes account for a whopping 42.9 percent of all Oakland Township car crashes.

According to SEMCOG, two human fatalities involving deer crashes in Southeast Michigan were reported in 2011, compared with eight in the state. One of the two people killed was driving a motorcycle.

Michigan Deer Crash Coalition officials reported 53,592 deer-car crashes in the state in 2011. Coalition officials urge motorists to avoid swerving if a crash with a deer is unavoidable. Deer are most active during dawn and dusk, and the coalition notes that deer crashes occur most frequently during October, November and December. Most crashes occur on two-lane roads between dusk, 6-10 p.m., and dawn, 5-8 a.m.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources estimates this year’s deer herd to be 1.8 million.

“This issue probably doesn’t get as much publicity as it did a few years ago, but it is still out there,” said City Council member Adam Kochenderfer. “Especially in the northeast corner of the city.”

Kochender is a member of the city’s Deer Advisory Committee, along with Council member Michael Webber. “We are seeing results with the Deer Advisory Committee,” Kochenderfer said. “We’ll keep on doing everything we can to either keep those numbers in check or lower them.