Highland County ranked 57th among Ohio’s 88 counties last year for the number of vehicle crashes caused by deer.
According to the Ohio Department of Transportation, Highland County had 181 deer-related crashes in 2012. Stark County topped the list with 558, while Monroe County was at the bottom with 15. Across the state, there were 20,993 vehicle collisions involving deer, resulting in six fatalities and 1,013 injuries.
And, an untold number of additional deer-vehicle crashes go unreported to law enforcement, according to ODOT.
Ohio drivers are being warned to take extra precaution this week due to the annual seven-day deer gun season that kicked off Monday and runs through Sunday.
“Increased deer movement typically begins around the start of fall and continues past hunting season,” said ODOT Director Jerry Wray. “The result can mean more deer on our highways and more crashes with vehicles.”
ODOT advises motorists to use these safe driving tips to help avoid collisions with deer:
• See the signs: Deer-crossing signs are posted in higher-risk areas. Drive with caution, especially in the posted areas.
• Deer don’t roam alone: Deer often run together. If you see one deer near or crossing the road, expect others to follow.
• Danger from dusk to dawn: Watch for deer especially at dawn and around sunset. About 20 percent of the collisions occur in early morning, while more than half occur between 5 p.m. and midnight.
If a vehicle strikes a deer, motorists should report the crash to local law enforcement, the sheriff’s department, the Ohio State Highway Patrol, or the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
Approximately 420,000 hunters are expected to participate in this year’s deer hunting season.
This year’s number of deer harvested so far is lower than a year ago.
Through Monday, Ohio hunters had harvested 109,932 deer, compared to 113,107 at the same point in the season last year, a decrease of 3 percent.
In Highland County, 294 deer had been harvested through Monday, compared to 448 a year ago, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife.
Deer hunting in Ohio continues to be a popular activity. Ohio hunters checked 218,910 deer during the 2012-13 season. Ohio ranks fifth nationally in resident hunters and 11th in the number of jobs associated with hunting-related industries. Hunting has a more than $853 million economic impact in Ohio through the sale of equipment, fuel, food, lodging and more, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s Hunting in America: An Economic Force for Conservation publication.