Ottawa aims to reduce fur-flying fender benders

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OTTAWA, Ont. — A "deer hotline" may be set up in the Ottawa area to help reduce the growing number of deer/vehicle collisions.

Other options being considered include adding more signs, light reflectors and planting guidelines for roadside ditches.

Ottawa city councillors and the Ontario ministries of transportation and natural resources are behind the move. They say that 628 deer were hit last year on west-end highways alone.

The increase in deer collisions is being blamed on a number of variables, including milder winters, a decline in predators and hunters and the protection of "green space."

Hitting a deer can be a costly preposition for truckers. Repair time and downtime can amount to thousands of dollars.

But not everyone is behind the idea. West Carleton Coun. Dwight Eastman tells local media that "Theonly part that sounds a little daffy is changing the vegetation. For a farmer, you can’t say ‘Don’t plant soybeans, don’t plant corn.’"

He says increasing limits and the length of the bow hunting season are they key to properly controlling the deer population.

Innes Cou. Rainer Bloess was also critical of some of the suggestions. "Warning signs aren’t going to make a difference. Certainly the deer don’t read them and by the time you’re through reading them, you’ve been distracted from the deer in your headlights," says Bloess.

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