Deer are creatures of habit. Anyone who spends time observing deer closely — including wildlife watchers, photographers, hunters and biologists — will learn to identify certain patterns of movement and behavior. If you know some of these patterns and characteristics, you have a better chance of avoiding a collision with deer on Utah’s roads.
They Travel Together
After it rains or snows, deer can be very active as they search for food - drivers should be especially cautious on the roads after a storm.
If you see one deer, there are usually more nearby. Deer travel in groups, so if you see one crossing the road, be on the lookout for its companions.
Fawns and young deer usually follow does, even across roads and open areas. Fawns don’t move as quickly or boldly as their mothers do, so there might be a delay before they appear.
If you see an adult female cross the road, just wait — the fawn or fawns will likely be close behind. Proceed very slowly and carefully after it appears that all of the animals have crossed.
They Don't Always Cross in Exactly the Same Spots
Deer travel together, but they don’t always follow directly in another deer’s path.
This is especially true for fawns and young deer. Adult does can easily jump over fences, but young deer need to find a way under or around them.
This means that fawns may enter the roadway a few seconds later — and a little farther down — than the adult doe did.
Watch for more deer in different spots and remember to be patient. A few seconds of caution and slower driving will take up a lot less of your time than getting your car towed and repaired after a wildlife collision.
Find out more about mule deer and what the DWR is doing to help them.
They Move After Storms
Deer prefer to bed down during a storm. After the storm ends, they often head out in search of food.
If you’re driving right after a lengthy storm, watch closely for deer. They could be on or near the road and, depending on the time of day, they might be difficult to see.
How Do You Scan?
- Keep your eyes moving.
- Don't Fixate on one object
or the road right in front of your for more than a moment.
- Look down the road ahead
of your vehicle so you can see hazards early.
- Expand your focus.
By only looking down the middle of the road, you could miss seeing animal activity on the sides of the road.