Mapped: More urban deer in NWA means more car accidents

·2 min read

Data: Statefarm; Chart: Jared Whalen/Axios

Just like people, more deer are moving to NWA.

What's happening: Deer have fewer natural predators than they used to and, ironically thanks to urban development, feel safer closer to town.

  • There is usually plenty of food, and they begin having fawns, so the population grows over time.

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Why it matters: More deer means more human-animal interactions and as the deer population grows, it impacts their health, says Ralph Meeker, a biologist with Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.

  • There are signs of overpopulation in NWA, he tells Axios: lower weights, declining body condition and fewer surviving fawns.

  • NWA has the highest prevalence of urban deer than any other place in Arkansas.

  • The biggest threat to a deer now is a Chevy, Meeker says.

The intrigue: Cars hit deer about once a day in Fayetteville and two to three times a week in both Rogers and Bentonville, an anecdotal survey of animal control offices in NWA indicates.

  • If you drive in Arkansas, your chances of hitting an animal with your car are about 1 in 70, the 12th highest in the U.S.

  • It's whitetail deer mating season, and bucks are chasing does. They're more careless this time of year and more prone to jump into traffic.

By the numbers: One study estimates about 200 people die in the U.S. each year as a result of hitting a deer. Property damage is an estimated $1 billion annually.

  • Deer collisions lead the pack with an estimated 1.4 million being hit between July 2020 and June 2021.

What to do: State Farm cautions drivers to slow down, put away the cell phone and be alert, especially this time of year and especially between dusk and dawn.

  • If you hit one, check your passengers and dial 911. Don't approach the animal.

What they're saying: Hunting is the best method for deer conservation, Meeker tells us.

Read more about Arkansas' deer hunting season from Axios NW Arkansas:

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