By Robert Medley
Senior Staff Writer
Deer and vehicle collisions are on the increase in the month of November, as hunting season and rutting season are in full swing.
A young buck dashed across County Line Road at NW 164 about dusk on Friday, Nov. 3, and a sport utility vehicle slowed down as the buck, with about 8-points on his rack, trotted into a row of trees.
Three days later, Monday night, Nov. 6, near Richland Road on Northwest Expressway in Oklahoma City limits, another large deer was struck by the front end of a brand-new sport utility vehicle. There were no injuries.
With food insecurity up, venison could be in demand. But it is not legal to remove a fresh kill from a roadway without contacting a game warden.
Don Brown, communication and education specialist with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, explained that a recent article in Outdoor Oklahoma magazine gave some details:
“A deer may be in salvageable condition, but according to statues, a person is not legally able to take possession of the deer since deer are a game species.
“However, a game warden may issue a permit allowing someone to harvest a road-killed deer. If you ever find yourself in this situation, be sure to contact a game warden before removing any road-killed deer.”
If someone is issued a permit to claim a road-killed deer, that person must remove the entire deer and dispose of the carcass properly after processing it. There also are statutes that address the proper disposal of animal carcasses.
Also, a game warden may donate a road-killed deer in good condition to local families who are food insecure or local food charities.
The uptick in collisions occurs this time of year because deer enter the rutting season (mating season). Bucks begin chasing does and seem to become less attuned to their surroundings.
So, running across a highway and possibly into traffic is more common during the rut in November.
The Wildlife Department continues to operate two programs for helping the hungry: Hunters Against Hunger (https://www.wildlifedepartment.com/hunting/processors/hah) and Oklahoma Deer Share (https://www.wildlifedepartment.com/hunting/resources/deer/deer-share).