Chances of Hitting Deer Got Better This Year

Weekly news, tips, trivia, fun facts, and wild tales from the outdoors

The annual U.S. deer collision data released this week by the State Farm Insurance company indicates that your chances of hitting a deer on the nation’s roadways increased by 3 percent during the past 12 months. You’ll also read about how Missouri hunters can help test for chronic wasting disease in whitetails this season, and more.

West Virginians’ Chances of Hitting a Deer Best in U.S. – Again!
For the eighth year in a row, West Virginia tops the list of states where vehicular collisions with wild deer are more likely than any other state. The odds a driver in the Mountain State will collide with a deer are a staggering 1-in-39, nearly a 5 percent increase compared to 2013.

West Virginia tops the list of states where vehicular collisions with wild deer are more likely than any other state.
West Virginia tops the list of states where vehicular collisions with wild deer are more likely than any other state.

Annual claims data released last week by State Farm Insurance indicated that overall, U.S. drivers are nearly 3 percent more likely to hit a deer than they were last year. The odds drivers will hit a deer in the coming year are 1 out of 169, but that likelihood more than doubles during October, November and December, when deer collisions are most prevalent.

Following West Virginia, the Top 5 states are Pennsylvania, with 1-in-71 odds (up 7.8 percent); Montana, with 1-in-75 odds (down 15.4 percent); Iowa, with 1-in-77 odds (down 5.5 percent); and South Dakota, with 1-in-82 odds (down 9.3 percent).

Elsewhere, deer collisions increased by more than 21 percent in Indiana and more than 8 percent in Virginia this year. And this marked the first year South Carolina made it in the top 10 with a 1-in-93 chance of colliding with a deer.

Hawaii rounds out the bottom of the list also for the eighth year in a row with odds of 1 in 10,281. Hawaiians are three times more likely to get struck by lightning in their lifetime than they are to hit a deer in the next year.

New Jersey Youth Bowhunting Day September 27
Youth bowhunters in The Garden State with a valid Youth Bow License will have their own special day to harvest a deer on Saturday, September 27 as part of the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife’s popular “Take a Kid Hunting Program.”

The hunt is an extension of the fall bow season so no special season deer permit is required.

Youths may hunt statewide for one deer of either sex on this day, providing they are under the direct supervision of a person who is at least 21 years old and who has a valid bow and arrow license. Direct supervision is defined as both the youth hunter and parent/guardian set up together at the same location, hunting as a unit, not hunting independently. The adult cannot hunt or possess a bow, but the adult may grunt, call or rattle for the youth.

Missouri Hunters Can Help With CWD Sampling
The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is again working with hunters and landowners from around the state, along with taxidermy shops and meat processors in north-central Missouri, to collect tissue samples from adult deer harvested during the fall archery and firearms deer seasons. The cooperative effort is part of MDC’s ongoing work to detect cases of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in Missouri’s free-ranging deer.

The Conservation Department encourages hunters to take deer harvested in MDC’s CWD Containment Zone of Adair, Chariton, Linn, Macon, Randolph, and Sullivan counties to one of numerous cooperating locations in the region to have a tissue sample taken for testing. Sampling locations include area taxidermists and meat processors, and the Northeast Regional MDC office in Kirksville during normal business hours.

Removing a tissue sample is free, takes only a few minutes and will not reduce the food or taxidermy value of harvested deer. The sampling effort is taking place September 15 to Jan. 15, 2015.

Grizzlies Active in Western Montana, Hunters Advised
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks reminds hunters that bears are very active this time of year, searching out food from late summer berry crops. FWP Bear Management Specialist Jamie Jonkel said this week he has received numerous reports from archery hunters in recent weeks who have seen grizzly and black bear scat and tracks at all elevations throughout western Montana.

“It seems to be a very active fall for bears around western Montana, based on the number of reports of bear sightings and sign I’ve been getting lately,” Jonkel said.

Bears are moving between river bottoms and mountain tops this time of year and can be distracted as they feed on berries, Jonkel said, which can sometimes prompt a surprise encounter. Hunters should plan ahead about what to do in an encounter and carry bear spray.

“When traveling through dense brush, look for bear scat and signs, such as bent over limbs on berry bushes, do what you can to warn wildlife of your presence, and have your bear spray in hand when you are in an area with lots of fresh sign,” Jonkel said.

Quote of the Week
“Trust in the Lord and keep the matches dry.”
– Oscar H. Adkinson,
The National Sportsman, 1920

 J.R. Absher is a freelance outdoor writer whose articles and columns appear in numerous national publications. He offers his unique perspective of the outdoors weekly for You may contact him at


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