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There are still plenty of deer

December 6, 2012 - Michael Palmer
There are over 1.5 million accidents involving deer per year. Deer accidents send 10,000 people to the hospital and kill about 200 people per year and who knows how many deer die from being hit by cars?

State Farm estimates that between July 1, 2007 and June 30, 2009 there were 2.4 million accidents in the United States involving venison deer. In other words, that's one deer-car mashup every 26 seconds. The worst state for smashing into a deer is and remains West Virginia, where your odds of making contact with a Bambi-like creature are 1 in 39.

For the third year in a row, West Virginia tops the list of those states where a collision with a deer is most likely.

Michigan remains second on that list. The likelihood of a specific vehicle striking a deer there is 1 in 78. Pennsylvania (1 in 94) and Iowa (1 in 104) remain third and fourth respectively. Montana (1 in 104) moved up three places to fifth.

Arkansas and South Dakota each dropped a spot to sixth and seventh. Wisconsin remains eighth. North Dakota and Virginia round out the top 10.

I was shocked to find Ohio was not on the top ten list, considering that while driving home after the rain Tuesday night between Martins Ferry and Cadiz I counted 43 deer in the "Kill Zone" which I define as within 15 yards of the highway in plain view of the headlight beams.

I read the State of Ohio DNR press release which said the allowance of additional deer permits for doe had decreased the population and that accounted for the lower harvest this gun season.

In my commute I noticed far less dots of hunter's orange on the hills around the tri-county area.

I did see some hunters, but not many.

One I did see hunting along three-bend hill on 250 had three doe and a small rack buck run out ahead of him from the brush across the pavement, I will note here that the herd totally ignored the huge orange sign with an arrow pointing the opposite direction of their escape route.

I do not think that the hunter was aware that they had moved on to the other side of the road.

In my little patch of woods near the farm we historically had a turn out which constituted a truck in every lane or well path that exited the township road. Those numbers are way down in my neck of the woods.

I do not know if the culture is changing or just the economy demands that hunters attend their place of employment because they do not any longer have vacation time to enjoy hunting season.

Whatever the reason, body shops are sure to benefit from the population of road crossing ruminant mammals remaining high.

I do a lot of night driving with sports and the commute home after filing the article and posting the photos, so if the opportunity presents itself, I will take a sometimes slower but always safer option of following a semi.

It is the equivalent of a good blocker for a running back.

According to State Farm here are tips on how to reduce the chances that a deer-vehicle collision involving your vehicle will be part of the story we tell in next year's version of this news release:

-- Be aware of posted deer crossing signs. These are placed in active deer crossing areas. -- Remember that deer are most active between 6 and 9 p.m. -- Use high beam headlamps as much as possible at night to illuminate the areas from which deer will enter roadways. -- Keep in mind that deer generally travel in herds - if you see one, there is a strong possibility others are nearby. -- Do not rely on car-mounted deer whistles.

-- If a deer collision seems inevitable, attempting to swerve out of the way could cause you to lose control of your vehicle or place you in the path of an oncoming vehicle.

Let's all stay aware and be careful out there.


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