Oh deer: Accidents on the rise in Missouri

During the months of October through December, deer are in rut, increasing the number of accidents involving deer.

As we get deeper into the fall season, the days get shorter and the risk of hitting a deer with a car increases. A deer crash happens in Missouri once every two and a half hours.

Damaged vehicles are already appearing at Kemna Collision Repair Center in Wardsville.


The average deer hit that we see is actually between probably $2500 and $3500 dollars damage," said Greg Kemna, owner of the shop.

Kemna said the number of damaged cars increases as the deer mating season reaches a peak in mid-November.

According to a study by the Missouri State Highway Patrol, almost 75% of deer-related accidents happened in rural areas, and 4 out of 5 crashes occurred on state maintained roads.

Over half of them happened between October and December, with about 85% of them happening between 5 and 7 p.m.

"Deer are crepuscular, so the peak of their activity is around sunrise and sunset and certainly during the overnight hours. But the problem during the breeding season is that they become active for much longer periods of time, and so they're out there moving around during all parts of the day during the peak of the rut," said statewide deer biologist Jason Sumners.

Sumners said this poses a problem for drivers heading to and from work when daylight time is shorter in the fall and winter months.

If you do hit a deer...

"Try to get to a very safe place on the side of the road...the nearest spot, pull the car over. You don't have to be an expert mechanic but give it a general visual. Does it seem safe to drive? Make sure it's not leaking any coolant, or any liquids out of the front. If it is, then it's time to call a tow truck," said Kemna.

It's important to pay attention at night while driving. Slow down and use high beams when other drivers are a safe distance away to gain a better visual of your surroundings.

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