Beware of deer

By: Kayla Dimick | Southfield Sun | Published April 27, 2016

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SOUTHFIELD — Local police are warning residents to look out for deer on the roadways this spring.

According to Deputy Police Chief Nick Loussia, the city of Southfield has seen a significant increase in the number of deer-related collisions this year.

Between January and April 2015, Loussia said, the police had responded to 15 calls regarding deer-related incidents. This year, however, that number has exceeded 30.

“The majority of these incidents were car and deer-related incidents or deer that were injured and required a police response,” Loussia said.

The calls also involved dead deer on the side of the road and dead or injured deer on residents’ property.

Vehicle-deer crashes are a year-round problem, according to the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning, but the state’s 2 million deer are most active in the spring and fall. Every year, there are nearly 50,000 reported vehicle-deer crashes in Michigan. Eighty percent of those, the organization said, occur on two-lane roads between dusk and dawn.

Loussia said police believe there is a growing population of deer in the city, especially around roadways near wetlands and fields.

White-tail deer can be found in every Michigan county, according to the Department of Natural Resources’ website. Deer are able to adapt to many different types of land, which is why they are able to flourish in suburban areas.

Lt. Calvin Hart, first platoon commander at the Michigan State Police, said it is important for drivers to stay alert and maintain a safe speed, and they should not swerve for deer in their path.

“One thing (drivers) need to be aware of is if they’re driving and a deer suddenly crosses into their path of travel, try not to swerve out of the path of the deer,” Hart said. “That’s more harmful for the driver because they could leave the roadway and lose control of their vehicle.”

If faced with a deer on the road, stay calm and slow down, Hart said. Signs are placed at known deer crossings to keep drivers alert.

“The best thing to do in a situation where deer is involved — unfortunately, it’s going to happen because of deer population in certain areas — is to make sure, as a driver, you maintain control of your vehicle, slow down and try not to swerve.”

Relying on tricks — like driving with the windows down or honking your horn — is not a reliable way to deter deer, Hart said.

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