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Bad News for Drivers: Deer Population Growing

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RALEIGH — The deer population in North Carolina exploded after the mild winter and they're taking to the roads in force.

Because deer tend to dart quickly out of the dark, there isn't really muchyou can do to prevent an accident. If you see a deer on the road, slowdown immediately. If the deer comes into your direction, officers adviseturning away from it.

The growing deer population might be good for hunters, but it's bad newsfor drivers.

"During the next 4 or 5 months a large percentage of our accidents aregoing to be automobile accidents involving deer," said N.C. State TrooperWayne Vaughn.

During WisdomMartin's ride with Vaughn, there were 2 accidents involving deerwithin 5 minutes.

Vaughn said part of the problem is that growth and new developments areeating up the space the deer used to call home.

"These highways that are being built now are going right through what useto be woods," said Vaughn.

So the deer go wandering for food and new places to live.

"In the past decade or so deer numbers in Wake County have expanded,"Vaughn said. "Its a real problem."

Wildlife researcher Carl Betsil said the deer population is a problem thatthey really don't have a solution to.

"Other than lethal control, there is not a good method of controllingthe deer population in rural areas," said Betsil.

Until there is a solution, troopers said drivers will have to be extracareful when encountering deer.

Officials report the population has exceeded a million for the first timeever. They're especially thick in Halifax County, 40 for every square mile. Hunting rules have been relaxed to try to control the population.

Reporter: Wisdom Martin

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