With the deer rut in progress (when bucks chase doe’s during the breeding season - for you non-hunters), it’s a time for motorists to stay alert, because if you hit a deer with your vehicle, you’ll probably have to pay a deductible for your car insurance to cover the damage. And if you no longer carry collision coverage, you’re out the cost for repair.
The likeliness of a deer collision is quite high in Pennsylvania. In fact, the Keystone State ranks third in states where you’re most likely to hit a deer with your vehicle. West Virginia is rated first and Montana second.
Since we turned our clocks back, it becomes darker earlier in the evening when many motorists are returning from work. Dawn and dusk are the peak times deer when are on the move, says the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC). And deer often travel in groups. So if one crosses the road in front of your vehicle, there’s a good chance there’s more.
The PGC offers these driving tips when driving during these times. The agency says slow down at dawn and dusk; pay attention to deer crossing signs; when appropriate, use high beams to see farther down the road; be extra vigilant when driving on narrow roads with woods on either side or standing corn as a darting deer shortens your reaction time; avoid swerving as it can cause a lost of control of your vehicle; don’t rely on deer whistles as they don’t work.
If a deer is hit, it’s not necessary to report it to the PGC. If it dies, Pennsylvania residents may claim it. To do so, it’s required to call the PGC’s regional office and report where the accident occurred and a dispatcher will collect your accident information and issue a free permit number that must be written down. And this must be done within 24 hours of taking possession of the deer. If hitting a buck, the antlers must be turned over to the PGC or may be purchased for $10 per point. Removing antlers from a road-killed deer is illegal, unless it’s being claimed by the driver.
The PGC also recommends that if hitting a deer and it isn’t deceased, it’s strongly advised to maintain your distance because some deer recover and will jump up and move on. If it’s still alive, call a PGC regional office or local law enforcement and it will be put down. To remove a deceased deer from the state roadway, call PENDOT at 800-FIX-ROAD and a road crew will pick it up.
According to Bob Danenhower, of Bob’s Wildlife Taxidermy in Orefield, many of his customers and hunting buddies are reporting good number of bucks cashing does. “They’re seeing three-four bucks daily instead of the usual one or two. And their racks are exceptionally nice,” says Danenhower.
So far he’s been getting in lots of 8 and 10-pointers for mounting, instead of the customary six pointers. Seems bowhunters are waiting out larger bucks and ones they’ve seen on their trail cameras. A few customers who used Urine-Luck doe-in-heat scent that he sells, have scored well. “One customer used a drip rag with it on and brought in a nice 8-pointer,” Danenhower said.
As we get further into the rut, activity can only increase.
Nick Hromiak has been an outdoors and automotive writer for over 30 years. He's been published in numerous national and state-wide outdoor magazines and newspapers.