Collisions with deer can be costly

The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources is now urging all motorists to use extra caution while driving during the months of October, November and December.

This year the state appears to have a higher than average abundance of white-tails, especially in the mountainous counties which includes Randolph.

According to a survey that was conducted by the State Farm Insurance Agency, in West Virginia a motorist has the biggest possibility of having a deer collision (1 in 46) than any other state in the nation. In the states that adjoin West Virginia, the possibilities are like this: Ohio 1 in 134, Pennsylvania 1 in 63, Maryland 1 in 138, Virginia 1 in 99, and Kentucky 1 in 107.

The State Farm Insurance Company estimates that deer-vehicle collisions actually dropped slightly to 1.33 million in the United States between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018. This is down from 1.34 million. However, when crashes do occur they are costly for drivers with a national cost per claim average of $4,341 in 2018. This is up from $4,189 in 2017.

On average, about 40 percent of the deer-vehicle collisions in West Virginia occur between October and December. West Virginia’s hilly terrain contributes to these collisions. The high quality soil in the valleys and level bottom land will allow for good agricultural production and more natural food sources for all wildlife.

The winding secondary roads are often bordered by forests. These driving conditions will reduce the distance a motorist will be able to see ahead and will increase the chance of having a deer-vehicle collision.

The WVDNR and insurance agencies urge all motorists to observe the following defensive driving tips:

Be aware of your surroundings and try to make use of your peripheral vision. If you see one deer, there are most likely more nearby. Immediately slow down and honk the horn with short blasts.

At dusk, drive with the headlights on and use the high beams as often as possible. At night, drive at a reduced speed, especially during early morning and late evening hours.

If you see deer in the road, do not swerve or leave your lane to avoid hitting a deer. Press the brakes firmly and make all efforts to stop.

Always wear seat belts. In this state it is the law.

•••

The first segment of the state antlerless deer firearms season came in Thursday, and will run through Sunday. I doubted if I would make any effort to try to get a deer during th0se four days, because I got an antlerless permit from the DNR for Kumbrabow State Forest. During these four days, antlerless deer can only be taken with a gun on private land. In Randolph County only one antlerless deer can be taken with a firearm for this year.

The antlerless deer gun season for public land will start Nov.19 and run through Dec. 1. This season runs concurrently with the two-week antlered (buck) gun season.

I have always wanted to deer hunt in this state forest. This location is not just “wild and wonderful West Virginia,” it is “Wild, Wild West Virginia.” This opportunity is less than a month away and I am going to try to give it my best shot.

•••

A very important national election will be held on Nov. 6. Early voting started in Randolph County on Oct. 24. I would like to encourage all of my readers who are eligible voters, to vote as they please, but please vote.

COMMENTS