Using GPS telemetry to assess deer-vehicle collision risk in Georgia
Stickles, James Herbert
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I outfitted deer with global positioning system (GPS) collars to determine deer movement relative to roadways and evaluate deer-vehicle collision (DVC) risk. Usage of roadways was primarily nocturnal with 44% of road crossings occurring between 0000 0559 hours and 37% of locations within a highway right-of-way (ROW) occurring between 2100-0259 hours. I recorded evidence of adult female deer using a highway ROW for parturition during the spring. Also, I created a breeding season DVC risk assessment map for the state of Georgia, and validated the map using deer movement data and conception data from counties where those data were available. I recommended DVC mitigation efforts focus on preventing or reducing road crossings, enhancing driver knowledge of temporal deer activity patterns relative to roads, integrating new technology with vehicles to improve nighttime detection of wildlife along roads, and modifying roadside vegetation to reduce attractiveness to deer and increase visibility for drivers.