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Watch for Deer: Fewer hunters could lead to more deer-related crashes

As we approach hunting season, drivers should be aware that more deer will be crossing our area highways.

Drivers across West Michigan, listen up.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) says due to fewer hunters in the state, you will notice more deer along the road. They warn this large population of deer may lead to an increase in accidents on area highways.

The Michigan DNR say there are 200,000 fewer hunters this season which means more deer are roaming the outdoors, potentially spelling trouble for West Michigan drivers.

Just last week, a man was killed in Kalamazoo County while driving down US Highway 131. He lost control of his vehicle trying to avoid hitting a deer.

Chris Stewart of Michigan's DNR says people should avoid distractions while driving. That means being alert and putting down your cell phone.

As we approach hunting season, drivers should be aware that more deer will be crossing our area highways.

"Just be on the lookout and aware," said Stewart. "Know that if you see a deer crossing sign, it is there for a reason. And deer are social animals. So, if you see one cross, there's a very good chance there could be a second or third one behind it. 

"Controlling your speed and increasing your ability to react is probably the best thing that you could do to try and minimize your likelihood of a deer-car collision."

Stewart says the lower number of hunters is not unique to Michigan.

He said as current hunters grow older, not as many young people are showing an interest, leading to the shrinking numbers.

With fewer hunters, the deer population is likely to grow, making alert driving very important. 

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