Deer collisions escalate, stretch Tisbury DPW

Early this week, Tisbury police received several complaints about deer carcasses that had been dumped near a hiking trail off Holmes Hole Road. There were five carcasses there on Monday afternoon.

Tisbury Department of Public Works (DPW) director Fred LaPiana told The Times that the deer were roadkill from this past weekend.

“We had a very heavy weekend,” said Mr. Lapiana in a telephone call with The Times on Tuesday morning. “It was our busiest of the year. The deer will be buried today.”

Mr. Lapiana said that November is, by far, the busiest month for the DPW dead deer detail, and that given the high incidence of deer/car collisions on the Island, a small incinerator would be the best way to dispose of the carcasses.

Nationwide, State Farm insurance agrees. October through December is the mating season, also known as the rut. Males experience “tunnel-vision” during the rut as they search for mates and for other males to fight. They will often chase females across roads, unaware of motor vehicles.

State Farm also estimated that 1.23 million deer-vehicle collisions occurred in the U.S. between July 1, 2011 and June 30, 2012, costing more than $4 billion in vehicle damage

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, deer-vehicle collisions in the U.S. cause about 200 fatalities annually. Most of the motor vehicle crash deaths in collisions with animals such as deer occur in subsequent events when a vehicle runs off the road, veers into oncoming traffic or when a motorcyclist falls off a bike.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recommends drivers be especially attentive from sunset to midnight and during the hours shortly before and after sunrise and be especially cautious when driving in areas known to have a large deer population (this means Up-Island and West Chop for Vineyard drivers).

If your vehicle strikes a deer, do not touch the animal. A frightened and wounded deer can hurt you or further injure itself. The best procedure is to get your car off the road, if possible, and call the police.