Drivers beware - the risk of colliding with deer is greater during the October through January deer-mating season, according to a release from the Ohio Insurance Institute.
Although deer-vehicle crashes have decreased statewide through the past couple of years, according to the release, drivers should still use caution, especially near wooded areas and standing fields.
Seneca County Sheriff Bill Eckelberry said in Seneca County, deer-vehicle crashes seem to be steady year-round, but recent increase can be attributed to crop removal.
"The movement of deer is up because of famers' activity taking crops off," he said. "Years ago we would see it go up during rutting season, but now it seems to be all year long. Deer population has increased that much."
Eckelberry said to help avoid collisions, drivers should always be aware of the possibility of deer coming out of wooded areas and standing corn fields. In those areas, drivers should slow down.
"If you see deer along the edge of the road, try blowing your horn. It might startle deer to run off," he said.
If deer are in the roadway, drivers should avoid slamming on the brakes or swerving to miss the deer.
Sometimes, damage and injuries are more serious when a driver loses control of their vehicle rather than hitting the deer, he said.
"If you happen to hit, just notify the sheriff's office and we'll respond, or the state patrol will respond," he said.
According to the release, other tips for drivers include:
Drive with extreme caution, at or below the posted speed limit, in areas with deer-crossing signs.
Most crashes occur in the months of October through January, followed by May. Highest-risk periods are from sunset to midnight, followed by the hours shortly before and after sunrise.
If you see a deer on or near a roadway, expect others to follow. Slow down and be alert.
After dark, use high beams when there is no opposing traffic. High beams will illuminate the eyes of deer on or near a roadway and provide greater motorist reaction time. Don't rely solely on high beams to deter collisions.
Always wear a seat belt as required by state law and drive at a safe, sensible speed for conditions.
Stay alert. Deer are always unpredictable. They often dart out into traffic on busy highways in metro areas.
Report any deer-vehicle collisions to a local law enforcement agency (such as the State Highway Patrol) or a state wildlife officer within 24 hours. Under Ohio law, the driver of a vehicle that strikes and kills a deer may take possession of it by first obtaining a deer possession receipt.