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Gregg County game warden: Be wary of deer out on roads

By Reese Gordon rgordon@news-journal.com
Sept. 17, 2013 at 7:34 a.m.


East Texas motorists might notice an increase in deer on the roadways earlier this year due to the recent drought and the oncoming fall rut.

Gregg County Game Warden Todd Long, who received a call Monday that a whitetail buck had been struck and killed on Texas 135, said those two factors have already lead to deer crossing roads and highways in Northeast Texas, causing accidents in the process before the rutting season has officially began.

"I receive anywhere from 25 to 100 calls every fall," Long said, referring to roadway accidents involving deer. "I get calls directly from the motorists themselves as well as DPS."

Each year, more than one million deer are struck annually by motorists nationwide. According to 2012 statistics from State Farm Insurance, motor vehicle crashes involving deer caused $4 billion in damages.

Long said low visibility at night can often be very dangerous for motorists when driving through rural areas. People should take precaution by driving slower, he added.

While many deer are killed when struck by vehicles traveling at high speeds, Long said those that can be saved are taken to area rehabilitation facilities run by volunteers.

Dawn Fairchild and her husband, Ross, run an animal rehabilitation clinic in New Summerfield, where they have taken in several whitetail fawns that have been found injured or alone in Northeast Texas.

"I had a doe a couple of years ago who must have been just bumped by a vehicle," she said. "We probably had her about a week and nursed her back to health. And when she was ready to go, we just opened the gate on her."

Fairchild said it is rare, however, for her to have the opportunity to help a deer who has been hit by a vehicle.

"Typically cars and deer is pretty fatal," she said. "I've had a couple of fawns who have been bumped by cars. Unfortunately, I don't think I've ever had one that was hit directly."

Long said he encourages motorists who hit deer while traveling to call him, and reiterated that it is against the law and is considered poaching to possess wildlife without permission from a game warden.

"It is a violation to pick up these deer or any other wild animal," he said. "Always call the game warden first and get our blessing. We'll give you instructions on what to do."

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