Wildlife Damage Management, Internet Center for


Date of this Version



Published by Human-Wildlife Conflicts Volume 2, Number 1, Pages 80–92, Spring 2008. Published and copyright by the Jack H. Berryman Institute. http://www.berrymaninstitute.org/journal/index.html


Every year in the United States approximately 1.5 million deer–vehicle collisions (DVCs) occur resulting in >29,000 human injuries, >200 human fatalities, 1.3 million deer fatalities, and >1 billion dollars worth of property damage. Despite the magnitude of this problem, there are relatively few well-designed studies that have evaluated techniques that can be used to reduce DVCs. Techniques to reduce DVCs fall into 4 categories: reducing the number of deer (Odocoileus spp.), reducing the number of vehicles, modifying deer behavior, and changing motorist behavior. Techniques to reduce the number of deer include decreasing the deer population or excluding deer from the roadway. Techniques used to change motorist behavior include reducing vehicle speed or increasing motorists’ ability to see deer. Modifying deer behavior includes making the roadside less attractive to deer or frightening deer away from the roadway. Despite a limited amount of data, multiple studies have shown properly installed and maintained fences combined with wildlife crossings to be the most effective method of reducing DVCs. Methods with unproven effectiveness include: intercept feeding, repellents, reduced speed limits, caution signs, and roadway lighting. Stimuli designed to frighten deer (e.g., deer whistles, flagging, and deer reflectors) are ineffective because they cannot be perceived by deer or do not elicit a flight response. Well-designed studies are needed so that we can acquire the knowledge about how to reduce the frequency of DVCs.