BOZEMAN – According to an Annual report from State Farm, there were 14,098 claims from Montana drivers involving a deer collision from 2017-2018.
This number increased 1.3 percent from the 13,640 claims reported from 2016-2017. Sergeant Patrick McLaughlin said the Montana Highway Patrol see wildlife-vehicle collisions at least five days of the week.
“It is Montana so you should always be looking for wildlife while you are driving,” said McLaughlin. “As you are doing your normal scanning the road you should be looking for anything that might be a hazard for you. Especially wildlife.”
There are 797,145 licensed drivers in Montana according to the State Farm report meaning the likelihood of hitting a deer in Montana is 1 in 57. Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks Communications Administrator Greg Lemon said often there is a higher chance of wildlife crossing near rivers or creeks.
“Particularly in areas where they are abundant and you can see many of them from the road that is a good area to be cautious,” said Lemon.
The highway patrol asks drivers to be extra cautious during dawn, dusk and through the night. Often during these hours, it can be hard to see in the low light. McLaughlin said it might take a split second to slow down, if you can try to not hit the animal, but to never ever swerve.
“When you start to serve like I said you might go off the road you may over correct, roll your vehicle, and chances are you still are going to hit the animal,” said McLaughlin.
If you do hit a deer, officials say to pull off to the side of the road, make sure everyone is safe and call the Montana Highway Patrol.
Reporting by Mederios Babb for MTN News