Surge in deer leads to more wreckage in North Carolina

As North Carolina's green spaces shrink, man and deer are running into each other at a record rate.

A new study shows deer-related crashes reported to police hit a high last year in Mecklenburg and across the state, as new residents and increasing development gobble up habitat.

With annual deer-mating season just beginning, drivers should really watch out, as crazed deer are more prone to run into traffic and cause accidents, experts say.

Rapid growth across the state also means fewer places to hunt - still the most effective way to cull the deer population, said Jon Shaw, an N.C. Wildlife Commission biologist in charge of Mecklenburg and nine other western counties.

"There are more vehicles on the road and probably more roads than two years ago," Shaw said. "We have to figure out a way to allow hunting in more (populated) areas."

Mecklenburg ranked sixth among N.C. counties last year, with 519 deer-related crashes. That's a 92 percent increase from 2002, according to UNC Chapel Hill's Highway Safety Research Center.

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