AUSTIN (KXAN) — People who live and drive in Central Texas, specifically Northwest Austin, are keeping a close eye on the roadways.
“When I bike to work I always have to watch out, I’ve had a couple close calls,” said Bill Thornton.
Thornton says he’s never seen anything like he did over the weekend in Austin’s Great Hills Trail Neighborhood. “I haven’t seen two of them dead on the side of the road, I’ve seen one before. But this area is crawling with deer.” There were more than a dozen complaints of dead deer over the last week alone.
Wildlife experts say lush plant life in Central Texas, fueled by rain, is to blame for all the deer.
“What we’ve had is two years of good rain, deer have produced like crazy,” explains Steve Lightfoot with Texas Parks and Wildlife. “We’ve got over four million of them in the state, half of those are right here in the Hill Country.”
Lightfoot says there is a reason why some deer stay so close to the road.
“A lot of the good groceries are in the bar ditch right next to the road, so that’s why you’re going to see them there feeding a lot of times, and that’s when they’ll catch wind of something and next thing you know they’re out in front of your car.”
It is also mating season, so you can expect to see even more deer crossing the road over the next few weeks. “They’re like a teenager with the car keys,” says Lightfoot jokingly.
But it’s no laughing matter if you hit a deer.
“If you are in a motorcycle or bicycle, realize they can kill you really easily if you hit one, so be super vigilant,” says Thomson.
Texas Parks and Wildlife also says you should never feed the deer, since that brings more of them together and enhances their reproduction.
Austin 311 says the number of total complaints of dead deer this year is about on pace with last year’s numbers. In 2015 there were 1,113 dead deer complaints. So far for 2016, there have been 895 dead deer complaints in Austin.