HOULTON, Maine — State police in Aroostook County are warning motorists to be on the lookout for deer in the roadway after a number of car-deer crashes over the past few weeks in the region.
Lt. Brian Harris said in a written statement Wednesday that troopers have dealt with a “significant number” of such crashes that have resulted in damage to vehicles but have not caused significant injury to motorists.
Harris said that each night has brought sporadic reports of such crashes, with police finding the animals left on the roadway.
He encouraged motorists to use extra caution when traveling, especially at dusk and night, when visibility is limited and the deer activity is more prevalent along the roadways.
“It’s the time of year that deer are gathering in the fields and woods along the roadways and crossing busy roadways while they herd together and search for food,” the lieutenant said.
Shawn Haskell, a regional wildlife biologist for the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife in Ashland, agreed with that assessment on Wednesday. He added that there is some evidence the state’s deer population is larger this year than in years prior.
Harris said most of the deer-vehicle crashes have taken place on Interstate 95 in the Sherman and Island Falls area and also on Route 1 in the Littleton and Monticello areas.
Haskell said that a number of crashes also have happened in Oxbow and in the Allagash.
“We have decided to deploy a number of signs warning motorists to slow down and watch for deer crossing the roadways, especially in these high traffic areas,” said Haskell. “As far as I know, all of the signs that we have are out on the roadways right now, and we may find that we have to purchase more signs.”
Harris said that all motorists should use caution on local roadways.
“Motorists are encouraged to use slower speeds when traveling at night and pay extra attention to the shoulders and sides of the road for deer activity,” he said.