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whitetail deer

White-tailed deer look rather shabby until they develop their summer hair.

Wisconsin's state wildlife animal is on the move, and that is not good for drivers.

The whitetail deer is very active this time of year, with females looking for places to have their young, and young deer leaving their mothers to start their own families.

This movement doesn't stay away from highways, so drivers, especially motorcycle riders, are being advised to be extra alert.

"It's the time of year when we see an increase in traffic volumes, in vehicle speeds and deer activity," said David Pabst, director of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Safety.

"The best advice to prevent deer crashes and to protect yourself is to be alert, slow down, buckle up, and, if on a motorcycle, always wear protective equipment," Pabst said.

Crashes involving deer peak in the fall, but June is right behind as far as number of crashes in Wisconsin.

And for those who might think the bulk of crashes happen up north, the county with the highest number is right here, in Dane County, in south-central Wisconsin.

In 2017, nine people were killed in deer-related crashes, six being motorcycle riders.

That's out of 20,482 crashes. Other than vehicles hitting other vehicles, deer-vehicle crashes are the second most common in Wisconsin.

Dane County had the most deer crashes in 2017 at 959, followed by Waukesha County at 869 and Manitowoc County at 788.

Five counties had more deer crashes than all other types combined, including Green Lake, Kewaunee, Lafayette, Oconto and Shawano counties.

What to do if you see a deer along the highway?

They can be seen anytime, but are most active in the early morning and evening. Slow down, eliminate distractions, make sure everybody is buckled and blow your horn with one long honk to frighten it away.

If a collision can't be helped, stay in your lane, brake firmly and don't swerve so you don't lose control, unless you are on a motorcycle, which might make it necessary to swerve to avoid hitting the deer.

If you hit a deer, get your vehicle off the road if possible and call police, stay in your vehicle and don't attempt to move an injured deer.

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