WILDWOOD, MO (KTVI)-- Deer populations in Missouri declined dramatically in the past decade with more lenient hunting rules. That means highways are a bit safer. According to State Farm Insurance, Missourians were 8-percent less likely to hit a deer in 2012 and 2013. A big reason why: hunting is now allowed on private property in many parts of the state that see the largest deer populations.
Shurway Auto Body Shop in Wildwood knows what time of year it is. Business for them starts to pick up when deer hunting begins. The Missouri Conservation Department estimates St. Louis County sees 400-600 deer vehicle collisions a year, based on police reports.
Hunting season kicked off September 15th and lasts until January 5th. According to Erin Shank with the Missouri Conservation Department, the region as a whole has done a great job harvesting deer.
The areas where people see the most deer in Missouri is in the West St. Louis County, area such as Chesterfield and Ballwin.
Shank also says that drivers usually hit a second deer not expecting it to be behind the first one. She urges drivers not to swerve when they are bracing to hit a deer, because they may hit another driver or swerve into a tree.
There were no deaths reported last year but the owner of Shurway says one of his employees died hitting a deer while riding his motorcycle 3 years ago.