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Minnesota DNR: Don't veer during peak deer, moose season

A spike in deer-related car accidents is a cause for concern
A spike in deer-related car accidents is a cause for concern 02:48

MINNEAPOLIS — Here in Minnesota, we're in our peak season for deer and moose-related car accidents.

They can happen in a split second, even in the city. Deer mating season, combined with the end of daylight-saving time, means a spike in deer-vehicle crashes. 

"Scan the roadways and just by slowing down, can help prevent some of these other crashes that are occurring out there," said Sgt. Jesse Grabow with the Minnesota State Patrol.

RELATED: Video shows deer charging through crowded Wisconsin restaurant

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety reports more than 1,200 crashes each year, on average. Ron Moen, a wildlife ecologist at the University of Minnesota Duluth, said his research shows those numbers are greatly underestimated. His research found only about 10% of deer-related crashes are reported.

"For every 10 deer that are out there, there's another 90 out there that aren't reported," said Moen.

Moen is part of a research team, studying how to reduce those wrecks. If you see a deer, the number one thing is do not swerve, according to Grabow.

RELATED: Minnesota sees decrease in deer-related crashes: "This is a real head-scratcher"

"We use the expression 'don't veer for deer.' A lot of times folks may end up going into oncoming traffic, causing a head-on type crash, or off onto that gravel shoulder, hitting that loose gravel, losing control causing a rollover crash, or maybe striking a fixed object such as a tree," said Moen.

It's not just deer this time of year. There was a moose-vehicle crash on Highway 53 up in St. Louis County last Saturday.

In an online fundraiser, a family friend writes that the crash sent 16-year-old Katie Johnson to the ICU, with neck, back and spine injuries requiring surgery, with a long road to recovery ahead.

Whether deer or moose, experts say to stay aware, especially this time of year.

"The main thing I would say is just especially as you're driving in the early evening when its dark, be watching for deer and be aware, and if one deer crosses the road, very likely could be another one following it," said Moen.

If you strike a deer, experts say to turn on your flashers, get out of the car when it's safe, and call 911 if anyone is hurt.

RELATED: Fewer hunters, healthy deer population posing challenges ahead of Minnesota hunting opener

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