Car vs. Deer Crashes

Temperatures around 50 for the second day of firearm deer season don’t seem to be affecting most hunters.

Last year’s mild winter may have increased the size of the U.P. herd.

It’s good news for hunters, but it means driving is more tricky this time of year.

Jon Gustafson of Marquette hit a deer two weeks ago.

He says he’s fine but the car has, as you might expect, a great deal of front end damage.

State Police from the Negaunee Post say they’ve had 198 car-versus-deer crashes reported in Marquette County so far this year.

And Sgt. Kevin Dowling of that post says that’s about average for the first 10 and a half months.

Nationally, you’re three times more likely to hit a deer in November as you are in any other month.

November is deer mating season, which means they’re roaming around a lot more than usual.

That can often mean wandering from a wooded area onto a road.

That three-times amount doesn’t quite hold true locally.

Sgt. Dowling says the crashes generally start happening in great numbers in late August and remain very common until December.

He says Michigan’s firearm deer season makes crashes even more likely — any living creature that’s being shot at will run away, and in their haste to get away from hunters, deer are more likely to run onto roads.

Jon Gustafson knows better than most people that sometimes, there’s nothing you can do about it — the deer he hit scampered in front of him so quickly that no one could have stopped in time.

But he says a little common sense will make crashes a lot less likely.

He says if you see one deer near a road, it’s almost always followed by another, so slowing down is essential.