November 13; Circle the Date

Steve Gilliland
Special to the Globe

Let’s start with a pop quiz; do you know the significance of the date November 13?

Is it; A - the day Billy Joe McCallister jumped off Tallahatchie Bridge? B – National chocolate chip sauerkraut day? C – the day each year when the most deer/vehicle accidents occur?

According to statistics from the Kansas Highway Patrol, November 13 is the day each year when the highest number of deer/vehicle accidents take place here in Kansas.

“The rut,” the main reason for such increased deer movement this time of the year, is the breeding season for deer, so bucks are perusing does, and both seem to throw caution to the wind as this process plays out.

Trooper Ben Gardner with the Kansas Highway Patrol and a representative of the McPherson County Sheriffs Deptartment both gave me some tips to help us all safely survive this annual event.

— This time of increased deer movement can begin as early as October 1 and extend through the entire month of November, so remain extra vigilant during this time.

— Be extra cautious when driving at dusk and dawn in areas where deer are often seen other times of the year, especially through wooded areas and where tree rows extend to the road. When we have our grandkids Jacob and Rylie with us in the car, grandma puts them on “deer watch” as we drive.

— When one deer is spotted there are usually more behind it, so don’t become so mesmerized by the first deer that you miss the ones behind it that may take out your vehicle.

— Decrease your speed when driving during this time, and remain aware of your surroundings, not just the road ahead.

— Do Not swerve to miss a deer as swerving or overcorrecting can easily put you in the other lane for a head-on collision or put you in the ditch and roll your vehicle, both of which are probably worse than hitting the deer.

Apply steady pressure on the brakes and maintain control of the steering wheel. Here are some tips and some good advice if you do happen to hit a deer.

— Recognize and decide where to safely stop your vehicle. If there is nowhere to safely pull off onto the shoulder, proceed to the nearest driveway, sideroad or exit to park, and switch on your emergency flashers.

— If you must exit your vehicle, be very cautious of traffic. If possible, remain in your vehicle as that is the safest place to be.

— Trooper Gardner reminded me that the state of Kansas requires an accident report be taken for any vehicle collision resulting in over one thousand dollars damage, which we all know is probable in a deer/vehicle accident.

So, dial 911 for the local sheriff department or call the highway patrol by dialing star 47 (*47) which connects directly to a dispatcher.

Also, a salvage tag must be obtained to keep the deer carcass; Gardner says some highway patrol officers keep them in their cars, but the sheriffs deputy I spoke with told me all his deputies keep salvage tags with them.

So, the correct answer to the quiz is “C.”

I’ll award partial credit if you chose either of the other two, as they are both very creative answers (other than chocolate chips, the only thing that might make sauerkraut better would be bacon) Anyway, November 13 is fast approaching, so slow down a little and be extra alert when driving through deer country, and continue to Explore Kansas Outdoors.

Steve can be contacted by email at