BELL COUNTY (October 21, 2012)--The number of deer-involved vehicle accidents has doubled in some parts of Bell County in the past few months.
Animal control officials in Harker Heights and the surrounding areas say the growing population, along with construction of new residential and office buildings, have forced some deer to move.
"Over the past five to seven years where the deer used to inhabit is now residential housing, so the deer have to migrate somewhere else, which is causing them to be more and more on our roadways," said Sgt. Roosevelt Wilson, Jr. of Harker Heights Police Dept.
Animal control officials say they cannot predict whether the deer problem will persist.
"It all depends on how much building we plan on doing," Wilson said.
"If we continue to grow the way we're growing in this area, then it's going to be a problem until the deer migrates somewhere else," he added.
Deer rutting, also known as mating, season also adds to the deer versus vehicle problem.
"As the seasons change, that's when you see a difference in their behavior: they're skittish, they're jumpy, they dart off in the road, you have bucks that are vicious," said Morgan's Point Resort resident Carol Risher.
Risher is used to deer roaming around her home in a deer-populated area of Central Texas, but she said this time of year always makes her nervous.
"They don't care who you are or where you're at, they'll charge you if they feel you're invading their territory," Risher said.
Those who know deer and understand their behavior best say slow and alert is the best way to stay safe.
"You just have to be careful and make sure you're not rushed while you're driving, or if you're walking, be aware of your surrounding," Risher said.
"As soon as they see the deer, they should gradually slow down. That'll give them a chance to either maneuver away from the deer or come to a complete stop," Wilson said.
Deer rutting season is usually mid October through mid December.