Drivers warned of Fiordland deer danger

LAUREN HAYES
Last updated 05:00 04/08/2014
deer warning
BARRY HARCOURT/ Fairfax NZ
DEER AROUND: One of the new road signs along State Highway 94, near Gorge Hill, designed to warn motorists to beware of deer while driving.

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Southern police hope new signs will prevent a deer in the headlights from becoming a fatal car crash.

Signs warning motorists to beware of deer roaming near highways have appeared across Fiordland, after several near misses involving the animals.

Constable Dwight Grieve, of Te Anau highway patrol, said the NZ Transport Agency had organised the signs after data from crashes showed deer were a problem in the area.

There had been a few cases of deer escaping from farms or wandering from Department of Conservation land and ending up on the road, Grieve said.

Deer were highly unpredictable and would not shy away from running out in front of traffic. If motorists were to hit a standing deer, the end result was likely to be fatal.

The animals could easily be thrown across the bonnet and through the windscreen, injuring those inside, he said.

Early in the morning and late at night were the danger times for deer crossings, but Grieve had spotted the animals along the highway in the middle of the day.

The signs would serve as a reminder for drivers to watch out not only for deer, but for other hazards as well, he said.

While deer were making themselves a nuisance on the road, it was important people remembered shooting from a highway was illegal.

The Department of Conservation operated programmes to control animals in the area and police did not want hunters scouting along the highway now the signs were up, he said.

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- The Southland Times

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