Deer on the Move
Inside the Outdoors, November 22
, 2013

When I was called recently by a motorist who regularly travels Route 30 referencing dead deer along the highway, it could only point to one thing. Deer are in the rut and it is extremely important for anyone traveling along these throughways to be extra careful of these animals running out into the highways.

Sometimes people don’t give it much thought that they are not the only ones along the roadways. This not only includes deer, but bear, moose, raccoons and the like.

Shortly after getting the phone call, I received an announcement from the Pennsylvania Game Commission about drivers using caution while motoring on the black top.

It leads me to the conclusion that this is the time of year that deer are in the rut, a period where these animals are seeking partners, so to speak, to mate for the spring “delivery” of the young.

This sexual excitement will send animals racing every which way in search of females to bear young. Unfortunately, they may meet their demise as they’ll run out into the roadways in path of vehicles. Many deer have been killed during this period.

According the Game Commission Executive Director Carl G. Roe, “Deer-vehicle collisions are an unfortunate and often painful consequence of living with whitetails, and there’s no predicting when or where they might occur. Drivers should be advised, however, that deer have entered a period of increased activity and are crossing road more often as a result. So, now more than ever, is a time to use extreme caution while behind the wheel,” he said.

It is interesting to note that buck will travel dozens of mile to find does with which to mate.

The question may arise, “What does one do if he collides with a deer while traveling along on of Pennsylvania roadways?” The answer is simple. According to the PGC, “A driver who hits a deer with his vehicle is not required to report the accident to the Game Commission.” On the other hand, “If the deer dies, only Pennsylvania residents may claim the carcass. To do so, they must call the Game Commission region office representing the county where the accident occurred and an agency dispatcher will collect the information needed to provide a free permit number which the caller should write down.”

“A resident must call within 24 hours,” Roe said, “to take possession of the deer. Antlers from bucks killed in vehicle collisions must be turned over to the Game Commission or purchased for $10 per point by the person who claims the deer. Also, remove the antler from road-killed bucks along the side of the road is illegal,” he stated.

Sometimes the deer is hit, but not killed. The Game Commission warns motorists to stay clear of these animals. There is a possibility that these animals may recover and move on.

“However,” Roe said, “If a deer does not move on, drivers are encouraged to report the incident to the Game Commission regional office or other local enforcement agencies. If the deer must be put down, the Game Commission will direct the proper person to do so,” Roe said.

One more thing. If there is need to report a dead deer from removal from state roadways, such as Route 30 where the motorist who called me saw them, drivers are recommended to contact the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation at 1-800-FIX-ROAD.

Deer do unpredictable things. Sometimes they stop in the middle of the road and quickly re-cross back from where they came. At times they may move toward an approaching vehicle. Assume nothing. Slow down; blow your horn to urge the deer to leave the road. Stop if they stay on the road; don’t try to go around them.


One thing before I leave you. Lakes have been producing nice trout. The top of the list is Donegal Lake where reportedly large trout are being tagged on spinners, Rooster Tail being the favorite. Three Latrobe anglers have caught nine trout at Keystone State Park Lake, the first being Nicholas Hampson, who got two brownies on Blue Fox lures, Mark Ludwig on white Rooster Tail and yours truly who caught three on the same lure. Few anglers are seen fishing at Keystone, however. My only conclusion is they have turned to hunting. The colder temperatures may also have something to do with it.

- Paul J. Volkmann
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