Iowa law enforcement agencies are seeing a big jump in the number of accidents involving motor vehicles and deer in recent weeks. Iowa State Patrol Sergeant Randy Steinkamp, of the Fort Dodge post, says there are two main reasons for the latest boost.

Steinkamp says farmers are harvesting their crops and stirring up the deer populations, while the animals are also entering their “rut,” or mating season. There were six car-deer accidents last week alone just in Hamilton County. Steinkamp offers some tips for motorists who maybe driving in rural areas at night, when the deer are most active.

“They just blend in and they’re hard to see,” he says. “The best advice, I would recommend to anybody is the old saying, ‘Don’t veer for deer.’ Just hit them and don’t make any sudden evasive moves that might cause you to lose control.” Steinkamp has a few more recommendations for motorists.

“Kick those lights on high beam and watch your fence lines,” he says. “Hopefully, you’ll be able to catch an eye of the deer and catch them before they pop out in front of you.” A recent report from State Farm Insurance found the number of car-deer accidents in Iowa increased 17% in the last five years. It also found overall, Iowa ranks fourth in the U.S. for the number of those accidents. The average property damage cost is about $3,050, which is also on the rise.

Contributed by Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City