A new report places the odds of a motor vehicle in Iowa hitting a deer at 1 in 77. The report from State Farm Insurance lists West Virginia – for the fifth year in a row – as the state where a motorist is most likely to run into a deer.
The chance of a driver striking a deer over the next 12 months in that state stands at 1 in 53. Iowa is second on the list for the third consecutive year. South Dakota, Pennsylvania and Michigan round out the top five.
Michael Pawlovich, with the Iowa Department of Transportation, isn’t surprised with Iowa’s standing. “Iowa has a lot of corn and the deer like to bed down in the corn. And now that we’re harvesting it, right during the same time as rutting and hunting season, deer are going to be moving around,” Pawlovich said.
State officials estimate that anywhere from 13,000 to 15,000 deer-vehicle collisions occur annually in Iowa, but many go unreported. Pawlovich encourages motorists to be especially cautious for deer darting across roadways at dawn and dusk.
“If you see one deer, you might see another deer. If you do see a deer, it’s better usually to hit it than to go off the road and hit something else,” Pawlovich said. Extended hunting periods have helped drive Iowa’s deer numbers down in recent years.
The deer population in Iowa peaked at 630,000 in 2006. The population today is estimated at 450,000.