Watch out for pesky deer while on the road

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 20, 2004

At this time of year, more deer decide to reclaim their lost natural habitat and that means they are on the highways.

It is important to be alert when you are driving to avoid colliding with these pesky critters.

People have died because of deer on the highway.

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Too often drivers swerve to miss the animal and hit oncoming traffic or leave the roadway.

Deer are often trying to avoid humans on the other side, such as the ones who are out in the woods stalking them. This weekend, hunting season gets into full swing in Alabama and we'd also urge those out there to use caution. Here in the south, hunting is by far one of the most enjoyable things we can do, but human error can cause an accident that may turn out to be less than favorable.

Exercising caution when hunting is a necessity. There are certain rules to remember -- wearing your hunter orange, never shooting towards another hunter, the highway or towards a dwelling, keeping the safety on while walking to your position, always having minors accompanied by a responsible adult when hunting, never drink and hunt, do not hunt past dusk. Just a few rules, but rules that could save a life.

However, it should be noted that even in the safest of hunting environments accidents can and do occur. We urge all hunters to carry some form of communication with them when in the woods. A cellular telephone, two-way radio, portable CB -- any form of communication. In case of an accident -- hunting related or not -- it could save your life.

We also encourage each hunter to keep their family and friends informed of where they will be hunting, and to hunt in pairs or groups. We also encourage hunters to hunt in locations they are familiar with, not venturing into unknown or forbidden territory. It's too risky.

We enjoy the sport of hunting and the important role it plays in our society and food chain. However, we cannot over emphasize the safety factors that must be dealt with prior to any hunting expedition.

And if you have any concerns about hunting, hunter safety, or laws regarding hunting, we urge you to contact your local USDA wildlife office and inquire about hunter safety courses -- which are required for hunters born since 1978.