If You Live in These Five States, You’re More Likely To Strike A Deer This Fall

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It’s the time of year when deer strikes become more prevalent, and State Farm Insurance has a list of states whose drivers are particularly vulnerable. We’ve got some tips to help avoid hitting a deer this fall.

October, November and December are the top months for deer-car accidents, but they occur in every month. State Farm Insurance released its annual survey on the states where deer strikes are most prevalent.

“We know there is an increased risk of collision with deer around dawn and dusk, and also during the October-December breeding season,” said Chris Mullen, Director of Technology Research at State Farm. “However, drivers should be engaged, alert and on the lookout at all times, because you never know when you may need to react to a deer or any other obstacle that may suddenly be in your path.”

The national average cost per claim at State Farm for 2015-2016 was $3,995.08, down just slightly from $4,135 in 2014-2015.

The Top 5 States are:

Rank State 2015-16 Odds Percent Change from 2014-15
1 West Virginia 1 in 41 5.4% More Likely
2 Montana 1 in 58 9.1% More Likely
3 Pennsylvania 1 in 67 5.8% More Likely
4 Iowa 1 in 68 1.4% Less Likely
5 South Dakota 1 in 70 4.7% More Likely

State Farm provides an interactive map showing the likelihood of hitting a deer in your state. The likelihood obviously parallels how many deer populate that state, and how many people drive there, too.

There are some bright spots: Massachusetts, for example, experienced a 30.2% decrease in deer strikes in 2015-16, compared to the same period last year. New York also decreased 2.1% dropping its rank from 27th to 30th.

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Deer Behavior – Packs

Deer don’t usually travel alone.  They tend to move in small herds or packs.

If you see a deer ahead by the side of the road, slow down and use as much caution as you can.  Scan actively for more deer on both sides of the road and be prepared to stop.  You may even want to check your mirror and put on your hazard lights to alert other drivers that you might stop suddenly.

As the documentary describes in detail, adult deer watch traffic flows, and they usually cross with caution.  Sadly, their young do not do this and will dart out to catch up to their mom.  Often in groups.

That one deer to your left across the median may seem like no threat.  However, the rest of its group may be close to you on your side about to sprint across your path.

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Deer Follow the Same Routes Daily

Deer graze across a surprisingly small area.  Each day they follow the same pattern and even the same paths.

If you spot a deer in your a neighborhood or on your commute, take a mental note of the location and be ready for them in that spot in the future.

Deer Feed At the Edge of the Road

It is not a coincidence that you see deer along the side of the road.  It may seem counterintuitive that deer would graze out in the open, as opposed to in deeper woods, but the food they seek out grows where the trees are cleared.  They like what grows along the tree line.

That makes roadways perfect feeding areas.  Areas where the road offers deer a place to stand and feed are places you are likely to see or hit them


The documentary has more tips and insights you may find helpful to avoid a deer-strike.