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Deer-Car Collisions Increase During Hunting Season

This article originally appeared on PETA Prime.

November is the peak month for collisions between cars and deer, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Insurance groups estimate that about one in every 100 drivers will be involved in a deer-vehicle collision at some point in his or her life. A fatal crash late last month in Indiana illustrates how heartbreaking such encounters can be. Seven people—including four children—were killed after their minivan hit a deer and was subsequently struck by a semi-trailer.

While hunters invariably point to such tragedies as justification for killing even more deer, the blame for deer-vehicle collisions falls at least partly on their own shoulders.

Pennsylvania-based Erie Insurance, which has analyzed deer-vehicle collision data in the state for more than a decade, found that the opening day and opening Saturday of deer hunting season are “[t]wo of the most dangerous days to drive.” According to the Missouri Insurance Information Service, increased deer activity associated with hunting is a “major factor” in the rise in deer-vehicle collisions in the last three months of the year. With more people (hunters) in the woods, deer are spooked out of wooded areas—often out onto the road.

Hunting also increases deer populations—which increases the likelihood that deer-car collisions will occur. While several studies have suggested that sterilization programs may provide an effective, long-term solution to controlling deer populations, hunting just makes the problem worse. It’s been shown, for example, that in hunted populations, does are more likely to have twins rather than single fawns and are more likely to reproduce at a younger age. Immediately following a hunt, there’s less competition for food. The surviving deer are better nourished, which can lead to a higher reproductive rate and lower neonatal mortality.

The state agencies responsible for wildlife “management” know this, of course, but they’re primarily run by hunters, who hardly have the animals’ best interests in mind. So, instead of setting up sterilization programs, they destroy the deer’s homes by clear-cutting to increase the amount of vegetation for the deer to eat—further increasing their population. Such programs help to ensure that there are plenty of animals for hunters to kill (not to mention plenty of revenue from the sale of hunting licenses).

Simple, nonlethal methods can reduce the risk of deer-vehicle collisions. A team of scientists from the University of Alberta found that simply placing warning signs in hotspots where deer are known to cross roads can reduce collisions by 34 percent. Other communities are experimenting with roadside sensors that trigger lights and whistles as cars approach to scare deer away and with laser beams that sound alarms to alert motorists to the presence of deer.

Drivers should also slow down and watch the road carefully—especially during hunting season. Scan the side of the road for wildlife and use high-beam headlights at night when there is no oncoming traffic. Also be aware that deer tend to travel in groups, so if you see one deer, slow down and watch for more. In many deer-vehicle accidents, the driver slowed down for one deer, then sped up and hit another one.

Hunters like to say that killing deer is the only way to prevent traffic collisions with them, but it’s not. When hunting season turns deer territories into a war zone, it’s no wonder that the animals panic and run—often right out onto our roadways.

Commenting is closed.
  • Marsh says:

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  • JSCOTT says:

    First off, one big important fact was overlooked during the writing of this article. The author failed to mention that November is also mating season for Whitetail deer. Look it up. Some of y’alls comments are just obsurd. “Hunting doesn’t decrease the population” is accurate, it controls it. Some of your views are so out there and obsurd, its laughable! For those of you that say God doesn’t want us to eat meat, you should look in the Bible. Refer to Genesis 9:1-3 and Romans 14:2-3. Open your eyes to reality folks!

  • Audrey says:

    George, most deer are not killed in a fraction of a second. My family (unfortunately) hunts and I know that many times they have wounded one and lost its trail, leaving it to die a slow, painful death…or a handicapped life. I don’t agree with Peta’s methods of using pornography, fat-shaming, offending as many people as they can, etc. but this is article does a good job of explaining while deer hunting is NOT the solution. I hope more people understand this and make compassionate, vegan choices in their diet and lifestyle.

  • kimi says:

    Logan, they are pointing out that hunters do the oposite of what they avicate. Hunters claim that hunting can control deer population by hunting. However, they are making the problem worst and are the cause of overpopulation. Moreover, PETA pointed out that deer are more likely to run out on the road during hunting season. Hunters chase the deer off thier teritory and the panic animals often run onto roads. There is another article on this site about nutering and releasing deer to control population which is more effective than hunting.

  • KK says:

    Slow down, get off your cell phone, stop texting, and pay attention when driving. Some of the worst offenders for driving like a bat outta h… are on country roads. With a few exceptions, no place is important enough to arrive at 5 minutes faster than going the speed limit (or slightly under during certain times). Some accidents are completely unavoidable; but many are not.

    I’ve hit two animals, on different occasions, that ran out of the woods and directly under my car over the 37 years I’ve driven. I’m determined not to hit an animal and grieve over the two I did hit. Also, if you do hit an animal, you need to get out of the car and make sure the animal is not left suffering. It’s tramatic to do so, but leaving them laying on the side of the road to die, sometimes over a period of days, is a cowardly thing to do.

    Each of us need to do the right thing in situations we’re involved with each and every day. This not only includes our interactions with people but also with animals and our environment. God gave us instructions, outlined in the Bible, to be caretakers of HIS creations including our fellow companions here. The world would be a better place to live; not the trash dump we’ve created because of our selfishness.

  • prairiegal says:

    Just like we should cull the human animal because we are more overpopulated compared to any other animals species. Don’t forget, humans are really just an animal too!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • facts 1st feelings 2nd says:

    i can’t believe how misguided you people are and the crazy scattered brained “ideas” that people like you deer don’t have homes and that clear cut provides more nutritous food for the deer and hunters have many nutrition plans for the deer on there land that work extremely well the wooded areas that surrond the fields should be plenty enough territory for the deer

  • sarahway82 says:

    1st, I think that if you are going to try to be a compassionate person, then you should extend some of that compassion to people as well…Even the stupid ones. 2nd, I don’t believe that hunting is population control or that someone would kill a deer so that it would not “die in the winter” because nobody seems to want to kill or eat a starving, old, dying, or sickly deer……… The whole situation is sad. But we can try to make the world a little better, or make it worse with hate. And while I am randomly pissing ppl off, when God created the world animals were friends and not food. In Genesis, after he created his ideal world, is the only place in the bible God calls something “very” good…. Anywho,Viva la Vegetarians!! <3 🙂

  • Ron says:

    It would be nice if we could control all animal population(especially human) through non lethal means. The over populated world and development gives little room for wildlife and the natural environment. If a hunter wants to hunt deer he should be certified with a hunting permit not unlike one with a cdl.

  • debbie85 says:

    I hit a deer last summer on the highway. I was going 55 mph and driving carefully. I was even watching for deer, but she ran out of the woods right in front of me and there was no stopping in time. Luckily, she wasn’t severely hurt.

    There are way too many deer in my part of the country and I am all for doing what is necessary to decrease their population. Now, good luck getting the hunters to understand!

  • george says:

    I am a hunter but I am not closed minded . I hunt deer and turkey , I hunt for food I eat every bit of what I can . I do this for health reasons, I would much rather consume wild game then hormonal injected turkey pork and beef . I plant 4 acres of forage every year and I only take deer that are 5 or 6 years old and most likely will not survive another winter . I think they are amazing animals and show them the most respect possible . I would also have to say that the fraction of a second it takes for a hunter to take a deer is better then a 6 year old deer starving and being eaten alive by a pack of coyotes or wolves .

  • Amy says:

    WJSCOTT- God also did not give us guns or crossbows to get our MEAT with so if you truly think our teeth are for meat go out and kill a deer with those incisors like GOD intended. Hypocrite

  • Gena says:

    It is very sad that so many people are so outraged one way or the other about this topic and say hurtful things to others to gain a rise. The reason deer are getting murdered by vehicles is that we as the “supreme” race have decided that all of this land is ours and we can do what we please with it. Let’s build more roadways, more buildings. The more, the bigger, the better. If we allowed some land for our animal friends, maybe there wouldn’t be this war over vehicle and animal. Also, people are so pre-occupied with their cell phones, radio, ect to pay particular close attention to the roads when they are driving. Please, let’s be a little more attentive to our surroundings and stop being so selfish and maybe there is potential for change.

  • citigirl says:

    vehicles cause a lot of deaths and terrible injuries (big money for doctors, car repair businesses, etc.) for people and also animals. The endless pain from a spinal cord injury is a steady paycheck for a doctor. People love buying shiny cars, but think little of safety. There are no “run for the safety” events. There are no statistics for the many wild animals killed on the road. The deer may also be following their ancient trails. It’s all sickening and there is little concern. Vehicles should be sold with a big safety label plastered on the side, like cigarettes and other products.

  • Logan says:

    I am an avid hunter. The only reason I saw this is because I came across it on StumbleUpon. I figured I’d give it a chance. Now to be fair, yes, some deer do get spooked. However, the fall and early winter months are also the peak of the rut, a deer’s mating season. Bucks are chasing does to mate, this results in deer movement increasing not only in the woods, but in bucks ranging from wood to wood in search of does. One other question I had, this article openly admits that hunting can make the herd healthier and increase survivability, even reproduction rates. That sounds pretty healthy for the deer if you ask me. So why are you against this? Do you want a sickly, starving herd come the beginning of winter?

  • Seriously!!! says:

    After reading these post, it saddens me that people speak without truly being educated!!!! Have we yet to learn that if you don’t have all the facts keep your mouth shut!! Get off you cell phone while your driving and educate yourself!!!

  • Karen Skeet says:

    Honestly, you people are so closed minded. The only reason that you are all living the lives that you are living is because your living in a economy that was built by gasoline and oil. Once we run out of gas and oil and there aren’t going to loads of easy and accessible food delivered to your local store daily. Then whats going to happen? People are going to start killing other people because they want to survive and feed off the remaining food supply. Then after the remaining food supply is gone? Then what? Maybe we will have to go back to killing animals for clothing and food like the human race will and will always do. Remember life hasn’t always been this way for everyone. You just all take it for granted. So stop hiding in your peaceful little worlds and turn on the news. It’s hell that we are living in but your all too weak to see it.

  • wjscott says:

    “Bottom line, hunters enjoying killing animals”

    I have yet to see a hunter that doesn’t “enjoy” harvesting a deer or any other “innocent” animal with the means of providing for one’s self and family. As a hunter, to me, nothing is better than being perched in a tree-stand on a cool/tranquil morning as the sun rises, watching the squirrels and other creatures play and in general just being out enjoying what nature has to offer. It isn’t always about killing an animal. What I believe drives us hunters is simply human nature, and I don’t see why that is so difficult for some to understand. The way some of you may have been brought up into this society hasn’t depended on wildlife or maybe you’re lost in the streets of a big city and Central Park is the closest you’ve ever came to actually enjoying nature. For thousands of years, humans have hunted and I don’t see any need to change now for the simple fact that all of a sudden these animals are now “innocent”. Is hunting a necessity for most? Probably not. Is it for me? No. However, it’s simply and bluntly “In my blood”. I respect every animal I take and give thanks for the bounty it has provided, just as mine and, yes, YOUR ancestors did many years ago. Just because hunting isn’t exactly a necessity, doesn’t mean that we should have to ignore OUR human nature. God gave us everything we need to survive, in nature. God didn’t give us grocery stores. Evolution gave me incisors and they are meant for one thing. MEAT. By the way, most deer/vehicle collisions occur at night, when deer hunters aren’t in the woods. November is breeding season and deer are known for traveling several miles in search of a mate. The females will often run from the males and cross roads and most of this activity takes place at night because that is when the deer feel the safest.

  • Heather says:

    So…I’m all for conservation and looking out for what is right for animals…I’m also a hunter. From the beginning of November until the last week or two, deer are mating, this is a proven fact. I did not kill a deer this year hunting, I did not have any good shots at mature deer, however two weeks before deer season, I hit and killed a young buck, with my truck. Had I been in my car, I would’ve ended up in the hospital. This buck was wildly chasing a doe. (I saw it standing in the field by the road) If you’ve ever been out in the woods, or watched deer at this time of the year, bucks have no clue what is going on beyond the scent of a doe. Until they are ready, doe will run like crazy to escape the buck’s advances. I have seen does running with their tongues out, panting, they are so worn out from running from bucks. Also, have you ever shot a gun near an animal? Unless people are driving the deer, the deer only run a short distance to escape from the gun shots, they do not run aimlessly through the woods. Also, after the first weekend of hunting, deer go into hiding mode, they know something is up and do not move from the thickest parts of the woods (I also know this from personal, lifelong experience). And yes, I do eat the deer I shoot. It is much healthier, cheaper and I know where it came from, how it was killed, and even what it had just eaten. For all I know, the meat in the grocery store is from some anti-biotic ridden downed cow that was hit twice with a bolt gun after being drug off a trailer full of sick cattle. Also, I don’t know where the idea that deer hunting increases deer populations comes from. Honestly, deer in the U.S. are mostly corn feed, unless they live in the desert, lol. This is not funded by the “wildlife conservation” programs…it is funded by local farmers… They do not face issues of “lack of nutrition”, especially in heavily hunted areas. People want woods for hunting, not bare, clear cut land for vegetation. Hunting deer does keep the population down. I have grown up around hunting, and have seen and heard both sides of this argument. Until you know both sides, have truly experienced deer in their natural habitat, both during and outside of hunting season, do not go out making hunters look like barbarians who don’t give a damn about the animals.

  • Leewoe says:

    I hate hunting! My godfather used to do it and he had his kills stuffed. One of them is a beautiful bobcat! I am always sad when I walk into his house because the animals he has killed and stuffed look you right in the face. The saddest part about hunting is that the animal doesn’t always die immediately, sometimes it takes minutes to hours for the poor creatures to die! Also, for the person who wrote the first comment, there is no justification for hunting no matter how you explain it, it will always be a cruel and unethical “sport”.

  • Patty says:

    And if it’s not enough that they kill thousands of deer every year, now they’ve reintroduced elk in my state (Missouri). They won’t start killing them right away, they’ll give them a chance to “overpopulate”, just like they say the deer do (how many humans populate this planet now? 7 BILLION? Who’s overpopulating?). Then they’ll justify murdering them, just like the deer. We think we’ve got problems now with car collisions? Just wait till the elk start being chased onto the roads. I agree. Hunters need to find new hobbies and leave the animals in peace. (Just don’t go make any more humans, ok? We’ve got more than enough.)

  • BONNIE says:


  • Sarah says:

    I am a hunter. When I do kill, the meat is consumed by us. How do you think the meat you buy in the store gets there? It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that hunting season is also when the male deer are in rut. This means they are much less careful and cautious and will do whatever is necessary to catch the doe, even running into traffic. I. Totally respect anyone who does not want to eat meat, however I do!

  • Joe Wilson says:

    Maybe everyone should just stop driving during hunting season. Or maybe everyone should stop driving period. If people stop hunting deer there will be an abundance of deer and there will be far more car collisions involving deer. How dare you people blame the innocent deer for running onto the road, that road was once a native prairie that the deer called home.

  • Carol says:

    Who is at fault I wonder HUMANS because we are in their territory not the other way around what a silly silly question.

  • ottsunshine says:

    I agree with PETA. Hunters enjoy killing and I do not trust people like that. How you can get pleasure out of killing a defenceless animal is beyond me. We hit a deer and it was hunting season. I will never forget that for the rest of my life. The cavemen days are over. Hunters are people that are weak and need to control something and a defenceless animal is an easy target. COWARDS WITH NO HEART OR SOULS.

  • cattaz1 says:

    I have always been against the slaughter of innocent animals and have heard all the excuses for it. I lived in IL for years and the goal was to kill the buck with the biggest rack. Food was not even an issue in their quest. And then the poor deer gets to hang on someone’s wall as if they conquered it. A bullet or a bow/arrow would stop me, so how is hunting sport? If you can catch one without weapons, then go for it. If not, leave the balance of nature and the animals, alone.

  • Rev. Meg Schramm says:

    Some of the men in my family were hunters when I was growing up. Yes, we did eat what they killed but my memory is of the deer and boar heads on their walls. Modern hunters may say they hunt for meat, but make no mistake, the reason they really hunt is for those trophy heads, especially 10 point bucks!

  • j says:

    there are millions of deer here in south carolina, and that’s with close to 300,000 being harvested every year. How many do you think there would be if those weren’t taken? At first the numbers would explode, but after awhile the deer population would be down to nothing because there would be too many deer for the amount of resources available for them. You same people tell us to spay/neuter dogs and cats to limit the population, but we can’t do it to anything else

  • Kyle says:

    AMEN to this! I could not agree with this article anymore.
    Hunters are so ignorant and are always using the same old excuse! It is time people prove those heartless jerks wrong!!

  • bambi says:

    I think PETA should save their deer sterilization dollars and put them toward fencing roadsides that present deer crossing hazards.
    Clear cutting woodland does not destroy a deer’s home, deer are likely the most adaptive species in the US and live in all types of habitat. After all the woods are what is blocking the drivers view from seeing the deer. Maybe it would be smart to clear more timber along roadsides to allow drivers enough time to see the deer coming. 😉

  • tony wilson says:

    i am a hunter and yes we spook the deer out of the wooded areas but frankly we are not the only thing spooking the deer people who cut wood for heat also do the same as hunters. also most hunters are using there food for a source of food or plan to donate that food to an organization that helps feed hungry people with it. another thing is people now a days are in such a hurry they are not watching the ditches and driving carefully. also from a farmers point a view we hunt the deer on our land to thin the heard that is eating our crops making us money and feeding the world

  • Vicky says:

    I recently read an article which spoke of a hunter ‘by mistake’ killing a thought extinct type of large wolf, thinking it was a coyote. I don’t understand hunting why someone would think it an achievement by shooting or using arrows to kill an animal. Types of hunting to hounds and foxhunting have been banned in England, how do people get America to stop wanting to hunt these animals?

  • kersten says:

    I agree that hunting spooks the deer, but another factor is that it’s mating time and male deer are on the move looking for females.

  • Mary DeMarchi says:

    People can be such idiots. I say give the deer guns & loads of ammo.

  • Jennifer Brown says:

    I find it pathetic that hunters will try to use any excuse to justify the killing of innocent non-human animals. I also find it funny that they think that other humans will be stupid enough to fall for these excuses and believe them to be facts. People who hunt need to find new hobbies.

  • heather says:

    Nov. was the month a car speeding by me in the middle of night hit a big deer luckly we stopped in time but saddly the car speeding by us didnt see the big male deer bigger then the deer in the above photo. the poor deer splattered everywhere and the body came back and smashed my car up also. the man in the speeding car was unconscious. but thankful he came out when we called to him and the mess was soo horrifying it haunts me to this day. PLEASE drive slow MOSTLY at night. And it was hunting season.. when it happened .. the deer was running for its life… may all the people and animals killed from cars R.I.P

  • deborah wellborn says:

    I can’t agree more with PETA on this(and many other points regarding animal cruelty)! I think of this the same as people who have exterminators come out to “take care” of their raccoon problem – well, guess what, more just show up to take their place! I have heard this story about hunting preventing car accidents with deer and I don’t buy it – I think it is hunters justifying killing the deer……the same with the excuse “but, I eat what I kill” – ok, but weren’t you just at the grocery store buying meat – why do you need to go hunt down an innocent animal to kill it???????????? Bottom line, hunters enjoying killing animals – there is no necessity to it!

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