Vehicular collisions with white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) are a safety and economic hazard to motorists. Many efforts to reduce deer–vehicle collisions (DVCs) have proven unsuccessful, but deer reduction has been a primary management tool in several states. The Virginia Department of Transportation geo-located all known DVCs in Clarke County, Virginia, from August through December 2005 (n = 246) and 2006 (n = 259). We estimated harvest intensity, deer population density, amount of forest and housing development, presence of row crops, and traffic volume and speed for 228 road segments (each 500 m in length) within the county to determine which factors are correlated with increased DVCs. A step-wise general linear model indicated that deer density (range 5–47 deer/km2), and deer harvest levels (range 1–18 deer/km2 for 9-km2 blocks) were not correlated with the location of DVCs. Road attributes (traffic volume and road type) and the amount of housing development were important attributes of road segments when predicting DVCs. The locations of DVCs during the rut were not markedly different from collisions outside the rut. Over the range of deer densities and harvest levels found in this rural county, there was little evidence that these factors influence the number of DVCs. Management efforts should include changing motorist behavior or road attributes.
McShea, William J.; Stewart, Chad M.; Kearns, Laura J.; Liccioli, Stefano; and Kocka, David
"Factors Affecting Autumn Deer–Vehicle Collisions in a Rural Virginia County,"
Human–Wildlife Interactions: Vol. 2
, Article 18.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/hwi/vol2/iss1/18