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Oh Deer!

October 12, 2017
by Dan Voigt , Emmetsburg News

State Farm Insurance recently issued its annual rankings of states where the odds of a driver hitting a deer, elk or moose with a vehicle are the most common. The rankings are taken each year from claims data and state licensed driver counts. State Farm says these accidents are most prevalent during the October, November and December mating season, so be on the lookout.

Iowans and South Dakotans will want to pay special attention during peak months, as both states again earned a spot among the top 5.

Here are the states where your odds are the highest:

5. South Dakota - 1 in 70

4. Iowa - 1 in 68

3. Pennsylvania - 1 in 67

2. Montana - 1 in 58

1. West Virginia - 1 in 41

The place where you're least likely to hit a deer? That would be Hawaii, where the odds are one in 18,955.

I'm a bit perplexed by this information, because it clearly states that the odds of hitting a deer, elk or moose, right? Now, if these are the three animals most commonly struck by vehicles, then someone is not telling the motoring public the full truth. Why do I say this? I've got a couple of reasons.

First: I can speak from experience I've decreased the deer population of Iowa by three head, and there's one less deer in Minnesota as well, to my credit unwilling as I was to be involved in those mishaps. Deer-yes. Moose or Elk-No.

Secondly, I can think of a few more critters out there that can do some damage to the average vehicle that our friendly(?) auto insurers aren't thinking about. For starters, around these parts, it isn't that uncommon to hear about a cow, calf or steer that escapes and becomes a hood ornament on a dark night on a dark rural roadway. (And surprisingly enough, most of those cattle are the same color as the night.)

But let's take this a step further. Our westerly neighbors in South Dakota are ranked fifth on this survey. I can't attest to the number of elk in South Dakota; I know they have their fair share of deer as well, but I'm really sketchy on the number of moose on the loose in the Black Hills State.

But another hazard that isn't mentioned for South Dakota motorists would be the Bison Americus, otherwise known as the Bison or Buffalo, whichever you prefer. I'm quite sure your typical bison would do a number on your average vehicle in a one-on-one collision.

But you know, there are plenty other creatures that get their licks in on the motoring public. For instance imagine a nice, crisp morning in January, with a temperature of say, zero. You're motoring along and a pheasant suddenly flies in front of your vehicle and hits the grill. Brittle plastic + bird = no grill and $500 repair bill.

Or maybe you're driving along one night, and Moby Raccoon waddles into your path and you hit him. Thump-Thump and down the road, little warning lights begin to glow on your dashboard. Moby may have poked a hole or two or ripped a line loose here and there as he rolled underneath.

In all seriousness, this is the start of the harvest and deer will be moving much more, and with the rut beginning, deer will be even more active. Everyone needs to be extra alert as they drive, not only for deer and other critters, but also for our area farmers as they move from field to field in the harvest season. Farm implements grow bigger and bigger and need more room on the roadways. All too often, visibility is difficult in bigger equipment, so always give the farmer a little extra room on the roadways and exercise a little extra patience so we can all arrive alive at our destinations.

 
 
 

 

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