Watch out while driving; it's deer season - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Watch out while driving; it's deer season

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DUBUQUE COUNTY (KWWL) -- It's the busiest month for deer on Iowa roads. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says that's because we're in the peak of breeding season which runs from mid-October through mid-January.

With more deer on the move, it makes it a little more dangerous to drive, so law enforcement says this is a time to be extra careful on the roads.

"The last seven to ten days, the car-deer accidents have picked up," Sergeant Harley Pothoff of the Dubuque County Sheriff's Office said.

Pothoff sees a lot of car versus deer crashes, especially patrolling at night and on more rural highways.

"Anywhere timber comes up to the edge of the roads or crop fields are close to the roads," Pothoff said.

On one night, we headed out to one of the top spots in the county for accidents involving deer along with Pothoff.

"North of Dubuque along 52 is the corridor where we have a lot of car-deer accidents."

Right around Sageville -- we ask for advice if you see a deer in the road.

Pothoff says: "Try to slow down. Don't swerve into the oncoming traffic lane. You're better off hitting the deer than going into the ditch."

During his answer, we saw a deer standing on the edge of the road.

"They just pop out in front of you before you have a chance to react."

If you do hit a deer, you must report it to law enforcement if you have more than $1,000 of damage or if the deer is on the road.

Pothoff says bottom line: keep an eye out for movement on the sides of roads or the tell-tale glowing green deer eyes..

"The best thing is just try to slow down. Watch your speed and be vigilant when you're driving," Pothoff said.

Officials say most accidents involving deer happen around dawn and dusk, but with the season picking up, they say you need to watch out no matter the time of day.

Despite what your instincts will tell you, you do not want to swerve out of the way..

The number of deer killed on the road actually dropped in 2008 from a year earlier. The Iowa DNR reports a 16% drop. Statewide, deer populations are declining. Deer movement is higher with daylight savings time.

In Grant County, Wisconsin, the Sheriff's Department had more than 65 reported car versus deer accidents in October. Six of those happened in a two hour span in one morning.

Online Reporter:  Jamie Grey

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