LEAVENWORTH COUNTY — While car crashes involving deer can happen anytime of the year, the fall is when car-deer accidents tend to reach their peak, according to a news release from the Kansas Department of Transportation.


And the Leavenworth County Sheriff’s Office has seen a small increase recently in car-deer crashes.


"We’ve had a slight uptick," Undersheriff Jim Sherley said.


State officials blame the increase in car-deer accidents this time of year on the "rut," or deer mating season which causes the animals to frequently be on the move.


Sherley said farming activity also can cause deer to move from fields.


"Hunting season will also drive the deer back and forth across roadways," he said.


The fact that days are getting shorter, in terms of daylight, increases the risk of encountering deer on roadways in low light conditions, Sherley said.


The undersheriff encourages drivers to slow down and remain alert. Sherley advises drivers avoid distractions within their vehicles.


Lt. Candice Breshears of the Kansas Highway Patrol said it is best for people who encounter deer on roadways to hit the animals rather than swerve to avoid them.


"Often, we find more serious crashes occur when you swerve to miss the deer, potentially losing control of your vehicle, leaving the road or veering into oncoming traffic," Breshears said in a news release.


In 2019, 244 car-deer crashes were reported in Leavenworth County. These crashes resulted in injuries to 11 people.


Statewide, there were 11,073 car-deer crashes in 2019. Eight people were killed in these crashes and 556 people were injured, according to a news release from the Kansas Department of Transportation.


Anyone in Kansas who is involved in a car-deer crash resulting in personal injury or property damage that totals $1,000 or more is required by law to immediately report the crash to the nearest law enforcement agency.


A salvage tag is required to remove a deer carcass, or any part of the carcass, from a crash site. Tags can be issued by KHP troopers, sheriff’s deputies or Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism game wardens, according to the release from the Kansas Department of Transportation.