Deer & Car Collisions in NY

Discussions about government and how it affects living and recreation in the Catskill Mountains. This includes DEC, DEP, and local governments. (NO Left or Right talking head political discussions)

Deer & Car Collisions in NY

New postby dave » Mon Oct 29, 2012 6:06 pm

The DEC has just released this statement on the NYS Plan on Deer Population and State Farm's report that New York has the 2nd highest deer and car impacts:

It's that time of year again when deer-vehicle collisions will be on the rise. So stay alert, drive carefully, and slow down, particularly at dawn and dusk when deer are most active.

Relatedly, State Farm Insurance® recently released their list of states where deer-vehicle collisions are most likely (see http://www.statefarm.com/aboutus/_pressreleases/2012/october/23/west-virginia-again.asp). Based on State Farm® data, NY ranks #3 for total number of deer-vehicle collisions, but once the number of licensed drivers is factored in, NY ranks #23 for likelihood of an individual having a deer-vehicle collision. These data from State Farm® give us a general picture of the trends of deer-vehicle collisions in the state and are what we used to generate the chart of Estimated Deer-Vehicle Collisions in New York shown on page 22 of our Deer Management Plan (http://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/wildlife_pdf/deerplan2012.pdf). These data are not useful for making deer management decisions at the wildlife management unit scale. Rather, they simply illustrate the scope of impact that deer populations have on NY drivers.

Interestingly, every year I talk to hunters who seem convinced that NY deer management is run by the auto insurance industry. Yet, I can definitively say that DEC staff make decisions about deer management without influence from auto insurers. In fact, in the years I've been part of the deer program and working with our regional biologists to set antlerless harvest quotas, I have not once been contacted by an auto insurance representative.

So do deer-vehicle collision rates play any role in NY deer management? Sure, here's how. We periodically conduct Citizen Task Force (CTF) meetings (http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/7207.html) in Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) throughout the state to engage the public in dialogue about the deer-related impacts experienced in their area and to generate recommendations for change in the local deer population. CTFs are comprised of local folks from a variety of backgrounds and may include hunters, farmers, foresters, conservationists, motorists, landowners, small business owners, and others. If deer-vehicle collisions are a hot issue for these folks, it may influence their recommendation for change in the deer population in that WMU. Also, deer-vehicle collisions are often a prime concern for many municipalities looking to establish deer reduction programs within their municipal borders.

Remember, deer-vehicle collision rates peak in November, so drive safely. For more information, check out "Reducing Deer-Vehicle Crashes," a publication of Cornell University Cooperative Extension (http://wildlifecontrol.info/pubs/Documents/Deer/Deer-Vehicle_factsheet1.pdf).

Jeremy Hurst
Big Game Biologist
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dave
 
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