Oh, Deer! The 10 Worst States for Deer Crashes


Deer are magnificent animals, but they also can be a major highway hazard. That's particularly true in these 10 states, which top the 2015 list for deer-crash risk by auto insurance giant State Farm. It uses claims data and driver counts to rank states each year on the likelihood that a motorist will hit a deer.

Nationwide, 1 out of every 169 drivers will collide with deer during the coming year. See if your state has much worse odds, and find out which is riskiest for run-ins with Bambi.

10. Michigan/Virginia (Tie)

Odds of hitting a deer: 1 in 97

Last year's rank: No. 11 (Michigan)

Last year's rank: No. 9 (Virginia)

Michigan has inched its way up the list, into a tie for 10th. The state has an estimated 1.75 million deer, even after recent harsh winters that have taken a toll on the deer population in the state's Upper Peninsula.

State Farm says deer collisions are down more than 9% this year in Virginia, but the state has held on in the top 10. Ahead of this year's hunting season, the Old Dominion State estimated that it was home to up to 1 million deer.

9. South Carolina

Odds of hitting a deer: 1 in 95

Last year's rank: No. 10

South Carolina is among several states that have named the white-tailed deer their official animal. The state cracked the top 10 for the 1st time last year. State Farm says a state's collision rates can go up and down with changes in hunting seasons, speed limits near deer habitats and other factors.

8. Mississippi

Odds of hitting a deer: 1 in 88

Last year's rank: No. 6

Mississippi officials estimate that there are around 1.75 million white-tailed deer in the Magnolia State, and motorists encounter the animals all too often. The Mississippi Highway Patrol reports that the state's motorists were involved in more than 3,400 deer-related crashes in 2014.

7. Minnesota

Odds of hitting a deer: 1 in 81

Last year's rank: No. 8

Minnesota estimates that it has an annual population of up to 1 million white-tailed deer. The state's Department of Natural Resources says whitetails are found throughout Minnesota, in every county.

6. Wisconsin

Odds of hitting a deer: 1 in 77

Last year's rank: No. 7

Wisconsin's Department of Transportation says the number of people injured or killed in crashes with deer has been rising since the late 1970s. Collisions with deer have recently topped more than 18,000 per year in the Badger State, accounting for 15% of all vehicle accidents.

5. South Dakota

Odds of hitting a deer: 1 in 73

Last year's rank: No. 5

South Dakota remains in the same spot as last year on the list, even as deer-crash risks have increased. State Farm says a motorist is now 12.3% more likely to hit a deer in the Mount Rushmore State than in 2014.

4. Pennsylvania

Odds of hitting a deer: 1 in 70

Last year's rank: No. 2

Pennsylvania, the 6th-largest state by population, is where a full 10% of the nation's deer crashes occur, according to State Farm's data. The Quality Deer Management Associated has ranked Pennsylvania in the top 5 for white-tailed deer hunting, along with Texas, Michigan, Wisconsin and Georgia.

3. Iowa

Odds of hitting a deer: 1 in 68

Last year's rank: No. 4

Iowa's Department of Natural Resources says deer thrive in the Hawkeye State and number about 200,000 after hunting season. Iowa has risen a notch on State Farm's deer-crash list as the chances a motorist will collide with one of the animals have jumped 13.2% from last year.

2. Montana

Odds of hitting a deer: 1 in 63

Last year's rank: No. 3

Deer roam year-round throughout Montana's wide-open spaces and have become more of a hoofed hazard, according to State Farm. It says the odds of a Montana motorist having an accident with a deer are up 19% compared with last year.

1. West Virginia

Odds of hitting a deer: 1 in 44

Last year's rank: No. 1

The Mountain State -- filled with rural, winding roads -- tops State Farm's list for the 9th year in a row, though the state has become somewhat safer for deer-wary motorists. The insurance company says the likelihood that a motorist will collide with a deer in West Virginia has slid 11.4% from last year, when the odds were 1 in 39.

Didn't find your state? See our chart of deer-crash risks by state.

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