This is the Month to Dodge Maine Deer
Apparently Maine isn’t the only place where deer are not seen as much as they have been in the past – at least on the roadways.
State Farm Insurance recently reported that deer-vehicle collisions in the United States decreased for the third consecutive year. And the downturn is accelerating, declining in 2010 at a rate that was three times as large as during the previous two years combined.
Of course we’re still colliding with the nation’s number one game animal an awful lot.
State Farm estimated that more than a million collisions occurred between July 1, 2010 and June 30, 2011. But that’s 9 percent less than three years ago and 7 percent less than the previous year.
If you are worried about colliding with a deer, you are living in the right place. Maine is well down the list of places where you are most likely to do so.
West Virginia is the state where you are most likely to find a deer in your headlights, with a 1 in 53 chance that will happen. Iowa has the dubious honor of second place in the deer auto derby, with a 1 in 77 chance of hitting a deer.
In Maine, your chance of mowing down a whitetail with your vehicle is just 1 in 247, putting us in 31st place. That’s probably the only positive aspect of the sharp drop in Maine’s deer population. That drop has caused a devastating impact on rural Maine and our outdoor industry, from guides to sporting camps to taxidermists and butchers to gas stations and restaurants.
I was actually astonished that Pennsylvania doesn’t lead the country in collisions. It’s now in fourth place. The first time I drove across Pennsylvania, I was shocked by the number of dead deer along the highway.
In Maine, a dead deer is quickly picked up, usually by someone who wants to eat it. In Pennsylvania, the deer just pile up until a road crew comes by to dispose of them. What a waste! I had a strong urge to jump out and butcher one, mile after mile after mile.
Pennsylvania drivers are projected to kill over 100,000 deer this year. That’s about half of all the deer we now have in Maine! That’s makes Pennsylvania the top killing ground in the country, in terms of the number of deer slaughtered on the highways.
State Farm predicted that 4,103 Mainers would collide with deer on our roadways between July 1, 2010 and June 30, 2011. Because our statistics are kept by year, I can’t tell you if this was accurate.
I can report that Maine crashes with moose and deer declined every year from 2000 to 2009 except 2007, and we’ve averaged 3,000 collisions with deer over the past 10 years, according to Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Based on these numbers, we may be even safer than State Farm reports.
One fact is indisputable. Almost 20 percent of the deer/motor vehicle collisions occur in November, the mating month for deer and our hunting firearms season. Both keep deer on the move.
The only remedy available to you is to stay home and don’t drive in November, or move to Hawaii, the state in which you are least likely to collide with a deer.
I loved State Farm’s reportage on this fact. They noted, “The odds of a Hawaiian driver colliding with a deer between now and 12 months from now are approximately equal to the odds that you are a practicing nudist.”