Deer-mating season means danger for deer, motorists in N.J.

Motorists strike and kill thousands of deer each year in New Jersey. And this is the time of year for drivers to be on the lookout.

It’s the peak of the deer mating season in the Garden State, said Carole Stanko, deer-management project leader for the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife.

“Because they have mating on the brain, they’re not stopping to look both ways when they cross the road,” she said. “So when you see one deer, you should slow down because there are generally more deer behind them.”

There are more deer along rural and suburban roads where hunting is not allowed, she said.

“Hunters trim the herd significantly where they have access, but we don’t have any hunting seasons along major roadways so that’s one of our problem areas,” Stanko said.

Officials anticipate more accidents before the mating season ends in January. Cars hit at least 30,000 deer in 2010, according to insurance industry statistics. The number could be much higher because motorists don’t always report collisions to their insurance companies.

The damage to a vehicle caused from hitting a deer averages $3,400, according to the insurance industry.

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