What do those deer signs even mean?

I've lived in Southern Oregon all my life, and I drive all over the woods and keep seeing deer signs next to the road wherever I go. I wonder if it means to be careful because there are deer, or does it mean they've been killed there?

— Curtis K., via email

The answer is both, Curtis. In general, deer signs are posted in areas with higher incidences of vehicle-wildlife crashes, said Oregon Department of Transportation spokesman Gary Leaming.

"We also follow guidelines from Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife," Leaming said. "So it's the mixture of those two reasons."

According to the Oregon Driver Manual, motorists should slow down when they encounter a deer or other wildlife on the road. Leaming said it's especially important during this time of year when deer and elk are more active because of their annual migration and breeding season.

"Deer tend to be very unpredictable during the mating season," he said.

The season lasts between late October and mid to late November. Deer and elk are most active during dusk and dawn, though they also wander about in the daylight.

According to ODOT data, there were 1,052 wildlife-vehicle collisions in October 2016 and 1,160 collisions in November of last year, compared to just 377 in December 2016.

So go easy on the gas pedal and be aware the next time you see one of those deer signs, Curtis.

— Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.

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