Local News

Bad News for Drivers: Deer Population Growing

Posted October 23, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— 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 much you can do to prevent an accident. If you see a deer on the road, slow down immediately. If the deer comes into your direction, officers advise turning away from it.

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

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

During Wisdom Martin's ride with Vaughn, there were 2 accidents involving deer within 5 minutes.

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

"These highways that are being built now are going right through what use to 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 that they really don't have a solution to.

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

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

Officials report the population has exceeded a million for the first time ever. 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