The deer are especially randy this time of year, and that can be dangerous for us humans.
Deer breeding season, romantically referred to as "the rut," means that bucks on the prowl for some sexy time and does playing hard to get inevitably end up on our roads, possibly in front of our cars.
State Farm Insurance Agency says your odds of hitting a deer in North Carolina are 1 in 147. That's up from last year, when it was 1 in 150.
And statistically speaking, this month has the most deer wrecks. Of the 19,400 deer crashes that occurred in the state last year, 4,200 happened in November, according to Eric Rodgman, a senior analyst with the UNC Highway Safety Research Center.
There are several reasons why deer-car collisions are more prevalent now:
For one, deer look for love during the twilight hours. Since the time change last weekend, twilight arrives at rush hour. More people are on the roads when the deer are roaming, increasing your chances of hitting one. About 80 percent of all deer crashes occur late in the day, Rodgman said.
Two, as human populations grow, there are more opportunities for interaction with deer. Neighborhoods, shopping malls and schools are pushed farther into deer habitats, such as the Umstead Park area in Wake County, said Joe Folta, a biologist with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.
In fact, Wake led the state by far with the most deer crashes in 2009 - 1,174. The next closest county was Guilford with 628.
Finally, the rutting period, which used to last a month or two, has now extended to January or February, Folta said. That's because the deer population is skewed with way more does than bucks - a result of hunters traditionally only shooting bucks and not does, thinking that will keep the population thriving.
But really it just forces the polygamous bucks to work overtime to impregnate all those ladies.
"We are still trying to break people of that habit of not shooting does," Folta said.
So what's the take away from all this?
Avert little Johnny's eyes if you're near woods and don't want him to see something he oughtn't.
But do keep your eyes focused on the road for hot-to-trot deer.
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