HARRISBURG, Pa. -- While a new Pennsylvania Game Commission measure will “increase public service,” it does not address deer-related accidents like the hundreds reported in Bucks County, Pa., over the past five years, including one fatal crash.
“The measure passed by the board sets out to , more or less, increase public service,” said Travis Lau, director, communications department, Game Commission. “I don’t think this will make any difference at all regarding deer-vehicle crashes.”
The measure, instead, impacts removal of deer carcasses, said Lau
“For example, if a deer is struck and runs into your backyard, you’d want it out and call the Game Commission. But roadkill pickup isn’t a primary responsibility for our Game Wardens. The new measure gives residents another option that’s faster.”
That option, adopted this month by the Game Commission allows nuisance wildlife control operators already regulated by the Game Commission “to offer road killed deer pick-up from roadways and private property.”
The responsibility previously for removing deer carcasses from roadways was split between the Pennsylvania Transportation Department (PennDOT) and the Game Commission.
“It allows nuisance wildlife control operators already regulated -- like those you might call if you had a raccoon in your attic – to pick up roadkill,” Lau said.
There’s no action regarding vehicle mishaps with deer.
“It gives residents another option to get rid of a deer they don’t want that’s on their property,” said Lau. “Ordinarily, they can search online for a business doing that service.”
Bucks County consistently has a high number of deer-related crashes, according to PennDOT.
In 2017, there were 244 deer crashes; one fatal accident, and 49 total injuries, according to PennDOT. In 2018, the corresponding numbers were 226; 0, and 50. In 2019, it was 226; 0 and 66. In 2020, it was 204; 0 and 53. (Statewide, there were 16 fatalities.) In 2021, it was 197; 0 and 40.
“We only count the deer that are recovered from our roadways,” said John F. Krafczyk, senior assistant district executive – maintenance, PennDOT. “We have a contracted vendor that removes the deer that we report to him. A typical year statewide ranges from 750 to 900 deer.”
Regarding motorist safety, Pennsylvania State Police said drivers should know deer often roam in groups.
“The best advice I can give is to always look out for the buddy – where there is one deer, there is likely more coming from behind,” said Corp. Brent Miller, director of communications in the State Police Harrisburg office.
One wildlife advocate said more needs to be done to prevent the collisions.
“The problem of animals being killed on roads is so prevalent, people think it’s just something we have to accept,” said Kennerly Clay, founder of Give Pennsylvania Wildlife a Brake/END ROADKILL Pennsylvania, a grassroots wildlife advocacy in Chester County, Pa.
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