So why did the deer cross the road?
To get to the other side? Or just to cause a wreck?
This common occurrence, especially in the fall, isn’t a mystery to state biologists.
That’s because there is some science to explain these collisions, and why so many happen each autumn.
It’s also the reason motorists need to be extra careful this time of the year.
Love is in the forest air, and it matters.
“West Virginia is fortunate to have an abundance of white-tailed deer,” said West Virginia Division of Natural Resources wildlife biologist Tyler Evans.
“However, this abundance can magnify the issue of deer-vehicle collisions when combined with the deer breeding season which takes place in the fall.”
Late October and November coincide with the “rut” or peak deer breeding season, and movement at that time can increase the likelihood of deer-vehicle wrecks.
And increase those accidents in a big way.
On average, approximately 40 percent of the state’s deer-vehicle collisions take place between October and December, according to DNR officials.
Hunter may also play a part in the deer’s increased movement and travel.
“Many hunters will take to the woods this fall. Their presence may also influence movement of deer and may increase the likelihood of deer-vehicle collisions,” he said.
The state’s rugged terrain coupled with high-quality deer habitat (including farmlands and forests with an abundant supply of mast like acorns and nuts) are a factor in the growing number of deer.
These same deer-rich areas also have many of the state’s public roads, so it isn’t a total surprise that wrecks happen.
A study released this week by the Insurance Journal sited this problem, and singled the state out for it, The Associated Press reported.
For the 11th consecutive year, West Virginia topped State Farm’s list for the likelihood of vehicle crashes involving deer.
State Farm data indicated the odds of this type of vehicular accident involving a deer is 1 in 43, compared to last year when it was 1 in 41.
Montana was next, followed by Pennsylvania, Iowa and Wisconsin.
Chances of hitting a deer were lowest in Hawaii at 1 in 6,823.
The average claim to fix vehicle damage was $4,179, up from $3,995 in 2016.