It’s deer season
Drivers beware bagging bucks with bumpers
For everyone with a driver’ s license, it’s deer season.
Deer mate in the fall, and, in pursuit of love, often run in front of cars.
There were 5,467 deer-related crashes reported to police in Pennsylvania in 2016, including 177 in Luzer ne County, 88 in Schuylkill County and 51 in Carbon County, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. Four people were killed in the crashes; 573 were hurt.
Many more crashes weren’t reported, especially if no one was hurt and the vehicle was driveable.
“A lot more people, probably, just report it to their insurance company,” said Jim Carroll, PennDOT spokesman in western Pennsylvania.
According to one of those insurance companies, one in 63 Pennsylvania drivers will hit a deer this year, up 6.3 percent from 2016. State Far m’s 15th annual deer claim study ranks Pennsylvania third in the nation for driver risk of hitting a deer. Only West Virginia and Montana rank higher.
More bad news: November is the month with the most deer crashes. Yet to come: December, which ranks third.
If you got through October safely, be glad. October is the runner-up month for deer crashes.
Rising along with the risk of
hitting a deer is the cost to get your vehicle back on the road if it does hit a deer. The national average claim cost for deer crashes between July 1, 2016, and June 30 was $4,179, up from $3,995 in 201516.
“Deer crossing” signs are posted along roads to war n drivers where encounters are likely, especially in dense woods. But cars have hit deer in downtown areas and a PennDOT map of deer crashes shows dots across much of Luzerne, Schuylkill and Carbon counties.
There are some areas, though, where the dots overlap -- along Interstate 80 and Interstate 81 near Hazleton, and along Interstate 81 through Schuylkill County and a section of Interstate 476 in the souther n half of Carbon County.
Schuylkill County even reported a fatality last year in a crash in October along Route 645 near the Berks County line.
PennDOT drivers are on those roads at all hours and in all weather but don’t hit as many deer as you might think, said Tom Mel lo, Penn DOT assistant Erie County maintenance manager.
“We’ve hit a few here and there through the years, but we don’t have a lot of hits,” Mel los aid .“It maybe because a lot of our big trucks are going slower, often 35 mph, and can adjust to deer running out in front of them better than someone doing 55.”
Deer hit by other drivers are the bigger headache for PennDOT.
“Our concern is more picking up the deer that have been hit,” Mello said. “We’re responsible for pick up and disposal along state roads.”
Carcasses generally are taken to game lands and other state properties, he said.
PennDOT crash data maps can be accessed at bit.ly/ crash-data.
The final three months of the year feature the most repor ted vehicle crashes involving deer each year.
According to State Farm insurance company, one in 63 Pennsylvania drivers will hit a deer this year.
A white-tailed deer forages for food in a field near Whitetail Lane in West Brunswick Twp. in July. Deer can be beautiful creatures in the wild but dangers when they venture onto roadways.