Pennsylvania’s deer hunting ranks among the best in the nation, but this state has ranked first in the nation for another ranking: collisions with animals.
So says Dave Phillips, senior public affairs specialist at State Farm Insurance.
Pennsylvania drivers ranked first in the number of animal collision claims from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021 with more than 155,000 claims filed. In the 2021-2022 recording year that ended in June, Pennsylvania ranked sixth in the country.
Deer hunting creates bonding opportunities for family and friends, and venison is a high quality source of protein. But in the larger landscape, the Pennsylvania Game Commission depends on hunters to manage the size of the deer population. Too many deer lead to deforestation, agricultural crop losses and vehicle accidents. be in the forest.
Rifle deer hunting season begins November 26th to December 10th after a variety of early deer seasons this fall.
Anyone who has been driving in the last month would notice more dead deer on the roads than at other times of the year. Deer are more active in late October and November during their mating season and their continued travels result in more collisions with vehicles.
Questions and answers:Here’s your complete guide to the 2022 PA deer hunting season
Where to hunt:Hunters share their tips for taking deer in state wildlife areas
Deer accounted for the bulk of animal damage to vehicles.
A study last year found that drivers in Pennsylvania have a 1 in 57 chance of colliding with an animal while driving. The national average is 1 in 116.
As of November 17, the Pennsylvania Game Commission is aware that 7,829 deer have been killed on its freeways this year. Also, 1,115 consumption permits were issued for additional deer that people found along the road and wanted to harvest for meat.
Throughout 2021, 11,176 deer were reported hit by a vehicle.
The actual figure is much higher as people are not legally required to report these incidents to the agency. If an animal is hit by a car, it can often leave the crime scene and return to the forest.
In addition to deer, the agency is aware that 639 black bears and 14 elk were killed by vehicles this year. Last year, drivers killed 60 moose and 536 black bears in Pennsylvania.
Without hunters reducing the number of big game animals, these numbers would be even higher. Last year, the Pennsylvania Game Commission sold 857,964 general hunting licenses and hunters killed 376,810 deer.
Travis Lau, the Game Commission’s communications director, said interactions with motorists are something they consider when planning hunting seasons.
“While we don’t track road deaths, we regularly survey citizens about their attitudes towards deer and whether the population in their area is too high, too low, or just right. Road traffic killings have an impact on how people think about deer. In areas with lots of deer, respondents are more likely to say there are too many deer. In that sense, this is how road fatalities show up in management decisions, albeit not directly,” he said.
Dogs help deer hunters:Pa. owners allow their dogs to help hunters find wounded deer across the state
Why Antler Restrictions?:The quality of Pennsylvania’s deer harvest improved due to 20 years of restrictions on antler tips
When your car hits a deer
The wildlife commission gives the following advice to motorists who are involved in a collision with a deer: A motorist who hits a deer with a vehicle does not have to report the accident to the wildlife commission. If the deer dies, only Pennsylvania residents can claim the carcass. To do this, call the Game Commission at 1-833-PGC-HUNT or 1-833-PGC-WILD and a dispatcher from the agency will collect the information needed to provide a toll-free permit number.
A resident must call within 24 hours of adopting the deer. A passing Pennsylvania motorist may also claim the deer if it was unclaimed by the driver whose car hit it.
Those who dispossess road-killed deer are also made aware of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) regulations, which prohibit the removal of parts from high-risk deer – essentially the head and backbone. These parts must be removed before the deer are transported out of certain areas. For maps of these areas, the full list of high risk parts and more information on CWD, visit www.pgc.pa.gov.
To report a deer dead for removal from state roads, motorists can call the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation at 1-800-FIX-ROAD
Shop early:Now it’s time to stock up on ammo for hunting in Pennsylvania. Here’s what you need to know
Avoid animals on the highway
Experts advise motorists to slow down when they think animals will be on the road, such as between dusk and dawn. Lau says drivers can reduce their chances of collisions with deer by staying alert and better understanding deer behavior. Just being alert when driving on routes marked with Deer Crossing signs can make a difference.
Brian Whipkey is the outdoor columnist for USA TODAY Network’s websites in Pennsylvania. Contact him at[email protected] and sign up for our weekly Go Outdoors PA newsletter via email on your website home page using your login name. Follow him on Facebook@whipkeyoutdoors.