Deer-Vehicle collisions in GA increase 8 percent -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Deer-Vehicle collisions in GA increase 8 percent

By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - A warning for drivers. Cooler temperatures have southwest Georgia's deer population running. In the last two years, State Farm estimates Georgia's deer-vehicle collision rate has increased eight percent.

The average amount of damage, about $3,000. The Department of Natural Resources warns you to slow down and watch out through the end of the year.

No one wins when a deer collides with a vehicle, for a driver, typically they lose a bumper, a head light, and they're looking at on average $3,200 in damages, and that's about average, for others the damage is worse, and more costly.

Over the last two weeks, at Duren Body and Paint a half dozen vehicles rolled into the shop with damage caused by south Georgia's deer population. The damage can be severe. "I've had the deer go through the windshield and end up inside of the vehicle. I've had them destroy interiors of the cars where the deer wasn't dead," said Jack Duren, owner of Duren's Body and Paint. Proving costly for the unlucky driver.

"They vary from, I'd say $800 to $7,000 so far," said Duren.

The increase in deer-vehicle collisions can be blamed on a combination of displacement because of urban sprawl and the upcoming migration and mating season.

"In this part of the state it comes in November, December, into the winter," said Brandon Rutledge, DNR Wildlife Biologist.

That's where hunting and controlling the deer population becomes important.

"Hunting is a valuable tool to manage the deer population to help reduce the chances of deer car collisions," said Rutledge.

Drivers are cautioned where there's one deer there's likely more, and repair shops are not surprised the numbers are up.

"That's probably true, I'm seeing quite a bit more," said Duren.

Annually the collisions cause about 150 deaths a year nationwide, all the more reason to be cautious along rural highways.

One of the worst areas for deer-vehicles collisions in southwest Georgia is northern Dougherty County near the county lines with Lee and Worth Counties.

The state has increased efforts to encourage more deer hunting to help control the population. In the past Georgia has extended the hunting season and in 2005 allowed hunting in certain state parks.

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