As the temperatures rise and the ground thaws, a familiar sight will return to the Garden State: whitetail deer.

(Jeff Gross, Getty Images)

Though the winter was especially brutal and started earlier than expected, deer populations remained strong.

"You have to remember that deer co-evolved to live in this weather and whitetail deer live as far north as central Canada, so they're well-equipped to survive in this weather," said Carol Stanko, supervising biologist with the New Jersey Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The biologist said what the cold weather did was make the deer less active than usual, in order for them to preserve fat reserves.

"Just because you haven't seen them for the winter doesn't mean they've gone away," Stanko said. "Once the weather gets nicer and they're back out able to graze, you'll see them with increasing frequency."

So with the possibility of seeing more deer soon, Stanko reminds drivers to take precautions on the road.

"If you see a deer, slow down because there is a good chance that there are more deer following it; they rarely travel alone," Stanko said. "Especially at night if you can, use your high beams and look for eye shine on the side of the road."

Stanko also reminds drivers never to swerve while avoiding a deer because you risk hitting another vehicle.