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Steer Clear of Deer on Wisconsin Roads in the Coming Months

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Steer Clear of Deer on Wisconsin Roads in the Coming Months

Woman driving a car on a Wisconsin road with a deer crossing sign ahead

It's that time of year: The mornings are crisp, the leaves are turning and deer season is just around the corner. In Wisconsin, archery is already open, and gun season starts mid-November.

But it's not only hunting season; it's also peak season for hitting deer on the roads.

To be sure, collisions with deer happen year-round. Yet the months of October and November consistently rank among the highest for deer-vehicle crashes. As the manager of one Milwaukee auto repair shop put it, these collisions rise to "epidemic" levels in the fall.

Why the seasonal spike? There are multiple reasons. Days are growing shorter, meaning more drivers are commuting before sunrise and after sunset. The deer themselves are also more active come autumn and early winter. It's the midst of their mating season, when bucks become bolder, and bucks and does alike are fattening up for the winter.

Just how many deer crashes happen?

Deer thrive in Wisconsin. They're practically the wildlife symbol of our state. It's not surprising, then, that we have among the top-five highest rates of deer-vehicle crashes nationwide. In 2016 alone, more than 20,000 collisions occurred statewide - an average of 56 per day.

Thankfully, most of those crashes don't result in injuries or fatalities. But a handful do. Between 2011 and 2016, deer claimed 53 lives and injured more than 2,500.

Even minor collisions - those that don't cause injury to the driver or passengers - can be expensive. The average deer collision costs nearly $3,500, according to insurance data from 2016.

Where do they happen?

The riskiest areas for deer collisions are rural, wooded highways, where the combination of high speed limits, narrow shoulders and poor visibility increase the likelihood of an encounter. In particular, the forests and farmlands of Western Wisconsin were hit hard in 2016 (the latest year for which accurate reporting is available). The Wisconsin Department of Transportation reports high accident rates in western counties that year:

  • Saint Croix: 690
  • Chippewa: 335
  • Eau Claire: 312
  • Polk: 166
  • Dunn: 141
  • Washburn: 140
  • Douglas: 73
  • Barron: 68
  • Burnett: 52

In all, these nine counties accounted for nearly 10 percent of all Wisconsin deer accidents in 2016.

How to avoid them

There's no surefire way to avoid deer in our state, but you can lower your chances of running into them. Awareness is the biggest factor. Now that you know when and where deer collisions are likeliest, you can keep an eye out for them.

Safe driving habits in general can also go a long way toward reducing your risk. Always keep your eyes on the road, and don't give into distractions (especially cellphones). Maintain safe speeds for the conditions. Slow down after dark or before dawn, use your high beams when appropriate, and keep your brakes in good working condition.

Finally, if you do find yourself face-to-face with a deer in the headlights, don't swerve your vehicle. Brake hard but maintain control. You're far better off hitting a deer (who's at a standstill) than crashing into an oncoming vehicle that's traveling 60-plus mph.

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SEE HOW NICOLET LAW MAKES A DIFFERENCE IN OUR CLIENTS’ CASES

CAR ACCIDENT

Result with Nicolet Law 
$1,200,000.00

CAR ACCIDENT

Offer before Nicolet Law
$50,000.00

SEMI-TRUCK ACCIDENT

Result with Nicolet Law 
$700,000.00

SEMI-TRUCK ACCIDENT

Offer before Nicolet Law
$75,000.00

SLIP AND FALL ACCIDENT

Result with Nicolet Law 
$180,000.00

SLIP AND FALL ACCIDENT

Offer before Nicolet Law
$5,000.00

PEDESTRIAN HIT BY CAR

Result with Nicolet Law 
$1,050,000.00

PEDESTRIAN HIT BY CAR

Offer before Nicolet Law
$0.00 - denial

DRUNK DRIVING ACCIDENT

Result with Nicolet Law 
$815,000.00

DRUNK DRIVING VICTIM

Offer before Nicolet Law
$0.00

UTV ACCIDENT

Result with Nicolet Law 
$250,000.00

UTV ACCIDENT

Offer before Nicolet Law
$5,000.00
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Nicolet Law Office is honored to have been nominated for numerous awards for excellence in service and client satisfaction. Our attorneys have appeared in such prestigious lists as Top 40 Under 40 and Rising Stars. While we’re thankful to have the support of industry peers and independent third-party organizations, nothing beats the feeling of gratitude we share with clients when we can make a positive impact on their lives.

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12 locations in Wisconsin and Minnesota to serve you

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Wisconsin Locations:

EAU CLAIRE:

402 Graham Ave.
Suite 305
Eau Claire, WI 54701

Phone: (715) 835-5959
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HUDSON:

517 2nd Street
Unit #205
Hudson, WI 54016

Phone: 715-226-6158
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LA CROSSE:

119 N 19th St S
La Crosse, WI 54601

Phone: 608-527-0876
Map & Directions

NEW RICHMOND:

1500 Madison Ave.
Suite 220
New Richmond, WI 54017

Phone: 715-226-6164
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RICE LAKE:
337 North Main Street
Rice Lake, WI 54868

Phone: (715) 790-1114
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RIVER FALLS:
215 S 2nd St #20
River Falls, WI 54022

Phone: (715) 716-5869
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SUPERIOR:
1200 Tower Ave.
Superior, WI 54880

Phone: (715) 718-2969
Map & Directions

WAUSAU:
408 3rd Street
Suite 303
Wausau, WI 54403

Phone: (715) 716-5092
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Minnesota Locations:

DULUTH:
306 West Superior Street,
Suite 606 West
Duluth, MN 55802

Phone: (218) 729-0628
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HIBBING:
Howard Court Bldg.
302 Howard Street, Suite 123
Hibbing, MN 55746

Phone: 218-217-0659
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MINNEAPOLIS:
225 South 6th Street
Suite 3900
Minneapolis, MN 55402
Phone: (608) 315-5639
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WOODBURY:
724 Bielenberg Drive
Suite 126
Woodbury, MN 55125

Phone: (651) 815-0017
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