With the rise in deer–vehicle collisions across the United States, the associated costs also have risen. Increasingly, however, researchers are learning that these collisions are not a random phenomena but follow a systematic pattern. Building on this insight, we explored the role of county characteristics in influencing the pattern and incidence of white-tailed deer- (Odocoileus virginianus) related auto collisions. Using county level data from 1994 to 2003 in Alabama, we tested several data models with the above mentioned factors as covariates. Our results showed that county characteristics, such as (1) having a deer population density (≥31/km2), (2) being part of a metropolitan statistical area, (3) having a high proportion of pasture, urban and other land relative to woodland, and (4) having greater vehicle density per road km were more likely to increase the odds of deer–vehicle collisions. In contrast, high proportion of cropland relative to woodland, and wildlife management tools, such as increase in hunting license sales, and high deer bag limits, reduced the frequency of deer–vehicle collisions. These findings suggested that urban planners need to consider the impact of urban development and infrastructure activities on deer habitat and densities, and how wildlife management strategies (e.g., judicious manipulation of bag limits and ways to promote hunting license sales) can be used along with other mitigation techniques to reduce deer–vehicle collisions.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/david_brown2/73/