Deer awareness and avoidance

Please watch for deer when driving on the Fermilab site. Photo: Denton Morris

In recent weeks, there has been an increase in collisions and near-miss accidents involving vehicles and deer. Although Fermilab does its best to manage the population, this time of the year is deer mating season and they are much more active, especially at dawn and dusk. In addition, the recent snow cover causes the deer to search for food in a wider area than they normally inhabit. These two factors increase the probability that we will encounter deer while traveling around the site. Here are a few items to keep in mind:

  • Please exercise caution when driving, especially along wooded areas.
  • Scan a wider path when traveling throughout the site.
  • Be aware that if you see one deer, there is usually another (or more) right behind it.
  • If a deer pops out of nowhere right in front of you, human instinct is to slam on the brakes and swerve to avoid contact. This is the worst thing you can do. It may result in a more serious accident (hitting trees, hitting other cars, rolling over in a ditch), some fatal (though none at Fermilab). If you need to apply your brakes aggressively, do your best to keep the steering wheel straight.
  • If you do experience a collision with a deer, contact x3131 immediately so you can get quick medical help (if needed), site security can document the accident for insurance purposes and Roads and Grounds can search for the deer in case it has been injured.