What if your car hits a wild animal?
Hokkaido is rich in wildlife. Caution is needed while driving as wild animals such as foxes and raccoons may run across the road. There are many ezo deer in Hokkaido (particularly in eastern Hokkaido.)
While ezo deer may look adorable from a distance, they are actually large animals. Some of them weigh more than 100 kg and there have been fatal accidents caused by cars hitting ezo deer crossing the road. If your car hits an ezo deer, it will be an “accident” causing property damage. You certainly should contact the police if this happens (particularly as it will be necessary to “report to the police” to have damage insurance cover the car repairs.) When making a report to the police, you can ask the police to contact the road authorities for that jurisdiction for the removal of the dead deer as it may cause additional accidents if it remains on the road.
Seasons for ezo deer sightings
Be aware that ezo deer come down to the foot of the mountains from the summit areas where they ordinarily live.
October – March
Watch for ezo deer while driving over the summits. The number of accidents peaks during October and November.
Times of day when most accidents happen that involve ezo deer
Many accidents happen between 16:00 – 20:00 around sunset, and 4:00 – 6:00 a.m., around dawn
Areas where ezo deer-related accidents happen the most frequently. A map of accident sites
Higashi Hokkaido Area, Deer-Vehicle Collision Map