West Virginia Leads Deer Hit Parade

Not much for either treestands or groundblinds but you’d still like to put some venison in your freezer this year?

Well, if you’re not into bows, rifles, slug-guns or muzzleloaders, your best chances of dispatching a whitetail by the motorized method can be found in the hills of West Virginia. There, one in every 45 drivers will become more closely acquainted with their insurance agents this year following deer encounters on the roadway.

Data released this week from State Farm Insurance show that—for the second year in a row—West Virginians have the best chance among all U.S. motorists of hitting a deer with their vehicles. In fact, since last year it’s become even more likely for folks in The Mountain State to harvest a whitetail with their Buick or F-150.

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And the “Good Neighbor” folks from Bloomington, Illinois put the data into perspective for us, noting that the probability of a vehicle hitting a deer in West Virginia sometime in the next year is roughly two times greater than the possibility that you will be audited by the Internal Revenue Service in 2009 and 1,100 times greater than your chance of winning a state lottery grand prize if you buy one ticket per day for the next year.

Which begs the question: Which would be more painful, a smashed front bumper or an IRS audit?

Anyhow, for those drivers keeping score, whitetail-rich Michigan came in second in the deer hit parade again this year with 1 in 78 odds. It was followed by Pennsylvania (1 in 97), Iowa (1 in 105) and Arkansas (1 in 108).

South Dakota is sixth. Wisconsin dropped from third to seventh. Montana, North Dakota and Virginia round out the top 10.

See the complete state-by-state statistics here, and the color-coded U.S. "Deer Collision Likelihood" map.

The least likely state to smack a deer on the highway remains Hawaii, where the chances are only one in 10,962.

Oh yes, State Farm also reports that the average property damage cost of deer/vehicle accidents in the U.S. is $2,950, up 2.5 percent from a year ago.

Be careful out there.