More than 1 million deer-related crashes occur each year across the country. Pennsylvania annually ranks in the top five on the list of states where deer-related crashes are most likely to occur. Statistically, one in every 86 Pennsylvania drivers will get in to a deer-related crash. The odds are even more frightening nationally: every five seconds, someone will collide with a deer.
These types of accidents can cause a lot of property damage as well as personal injury. It is estimated that the average cost of a deer-vehicle collision is over $3,000.
Tips for reducing the odds of a deer-vehicle collision:
• Be aware of posted deer crossing signs, which are placed in active deer crossing areas.
• Remember that deer are most active at dawn and dusk.
• Use high-beam headlights as much as possible at night to illuminate the areas from which deer will enter roads.
• 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. (They don’t work.)
• 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.
Drivers who hit a deer with a vehicle are not required to report the accident to the Game Commission. If the deer dies, only Pennsylvania residents may claim the carcass. To do so, they must call the Game Commission region office representing the county where the accident occurred and an agency dispatcher will collect the information needed to provide a free permit number, which the caller should write down. A driver must call within 24 hours of taking possession of the deer.
A passing Pennsylvania motorist also may claim the deer, if the person whose vehicle hit it doesn’t want it. Again, the motorist must report taking possession of the deer within 24 hours to the Game Commission.
However, antlers from bucks killed in vehicle collisions must be turned over to the Game Commission.
To report a dead deer for removal from state roads, motorists can call the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation at 1-800-FIX-ROAD.
There is a myth that deer have been left with no habitat. With deer running rampant in our cities, towns and backyards many people think we have destroyed their habitat. The opposite is true. Deer thrive in patchy woodlands and fields, as well as suburbia, especially when our gardens provide year round food. There are more deer in many places today than there were before European colonization. (White-tailed Deer in 1900: Only 500,000 left; Now: Over 30 million.)
A male white-tailed deer weighs on average 203 pounds; a female weighs 155 pounds.
2012-13 PA Deer Harvest estimates: