I've never hit a deer while driving my car, knock on wood. I know a few people who have, and it doesn't look like fun. We Iowans know that the species come aplenty here in the Hawkeye State, so it's always good to be on the lookout.

But, next week is the time to truly be on high alert for the creatures crossing the road here in Iowa. According to a study conducted by Current Biology, motorists are 16% more likely to run into a deer right now and into next week. The reasoning? Daylight savings time.

The report examined a dataset of more than one million accidents involving hitting deer, and it says that "10% of deer-vehicle collisions occurred during the 2-week period centered on the autumn clock change." This is likely because more people are driving during darker hours of the day.

Additionally, this time of year includes deer rutting season. According to MossyOak.com, there are a couple of phases of the rut where bucks are more on the move than normal: "The seeking phase is when bucks start to try to determine the general location of females. Mature bucks begin to walk in the daylight, and younger deer might begin chasing females during this period."

It adds this of the next phase: "The chasing phase is the period most hunters refer to as the rut.' It is the period of the deer rutting season when these animals are most sexually assertive. Little actual mating happens during this phase, but every buck out there should now be making a play for estrus females."

WHO13 summarizes some of the findings of the study:

  • Deer-vehicle collisions are 14 times more likely shortly after dark than before
  • Nighttime traffic and collisions with deer are more likely during standard time
  • Collisions with deer spike by 16% in the week after clocks change in the fall
  • Adopting permanent daylight saving time in the U.S. would prevent more than 36,000 deer-vehicle collisions and would save $1.2 billion in collision costs annually, the researchers estimated

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