County deer accidents continue to increase

By David Hotle, The JOURNAL


Washington County Chief Deputy Shawn Ellingson thinks that the rut is finally over and that deer being on the run is starting to diminish ? just in time for the opening of the first shotgun deer season that begins at sun-up Saturday.

With the coming of the two hunting seasons, Ellingson warns motorists to be on the lookout for signs of deer hunting that may lead to deer being on the run. The season will continue through Dec. 6, and an anticipated 60,000 hunters will take to the sticks in search of deer. The second shotgun season, bringing another 60,000 hunters to the Iowa timbers, runs from Dec. 9 through Dec. 17.

?Prepare for deer to start running across the road at random times of the day,? Ellingson said. ?That is going to happen. Here in Iowa we have hundreds of thousands of hunters going into the woods and those deer have to run somewhere.?

Iowa remains among the top states for accidents with deer. A new study shows Iowa remains one of the top states for deer collisions. State Farm?s 2017 deer-collision study shows Iowa drivers have a 1-in-69 chance of hitting a deer, elk or moose, making it fourth highest in the nation. The data is based on insurance claims.

In recent years, shotgun, bow and muzzleloader hunters have harvested around 120,000 deer annually in Iowa, with a high of more than 211,000 in 2005. Iowa?s overall deer harvest across all seasons last year was 101,397.

Ellingson said during times other than hunting seasons, deer tend to sleep during the day. He said that when hunting season opens and many hunters take to the woods deer regularly have to run. He said that during shotgun season the sheriff?s department does see deer accidents in the middle of the day.

?There are things you can look at that might tip you off that there is deer hunting in the area,? Ellingson said. ?If you see a lot of trucks parked on the side of the road.

?Obviously, if you see hunters in blaze orange that are entering timbers or standing in corn fields.?

He explained that during bow hunting season, the hunting is more static where hunters sit in one place and wait for deer to come by.

During shotgun season, he said, hunters can be more aggressive. One common tactic is lining up people to walk through timber and push deer toward other hunters. He said seeing large groups in blaze orange is a good sign that there is a push going on and the motorist should be careful .