Depending on your perspective, deer are: elegant creatures; quarry for hunters; a source of meals; a nuisance for gardeners; or a hazard for motorists.
Deer become more active during this time of year, which marks the beginning of both mating season and hunting season.
And that activity has prompted two separate announcements from state officials.
The first is an alert Missouri State Highway Patrol Superintendent Col. Ron Replogle issued to motorists.
He reminds motorists to be vigilant to avoid accidents involving deer. Fall harvesting, hunting season and mating season all increase activity.
Last year, that increased activity resulted in 3,563 accidents involving vehicles and deer, which translated into one collision every 2.5 hours.
And the human toll involved more than vehicle damage; four people were killed and 367 injured.
The superintendent added collisions involving deer occur largely between the hours of 5 p.m. and 7 a.m., and also happen in urban areas, which accounted for 26.7 percent of the accidents last year.
A second announcement was a plea issued by Gov. Jay Nixon for Missouri hunters to participate in the Share the Harvest program.
Now in its 21st season, Share the Harvest provides a way for hunters to donate their deer to help feed needy families.
The program is sponsored by a partnership that includes the Conservation Federation of Missouri, the Missouri Department of Conservation, regional food banks, local food pantries and meat processors.
This year’s goal is an ambitious target — the donation of 10,000 deer. Last year, nearly 6,200 deer were processed through the program, resulting in more than 370,000 pounds of venison for families in need.
During deer season, we join in encouraging motorists to avoid them and hunters to donate them.
Copyright Jefferson City News Tribune. Reprinted with permission.