South Dakota ranks 5th in nation for deer crashes

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More car crashes involving deer are happening around the country right now -- especially right here in South Dakota. In fact, the state ranks fifth for most crashes nationwide.

According to a study conducted by State Farm Insurance, South Dakotans face a 1 in 73 chance of hitting a deer on the roads.

Although deer collisions can happen throughout the year, fall is the peak time.

"Certainly fall harvest has a big impact as does hunting activity but we also have the rut that occurs that first part of November all the way to the end of middle of November where the deer have a breeding season going on. And the bucks will be chasing the does," said Emmett Keyser, SD Game, Fish and Parks Regional Supervisor.

The South Dakota Highway Patrol takes many car vs. deer crash calls around this time.

"As far as the chances for injury, you have a lot more chance for injury if you swerve to miss a deer and end up going in the ditch and maybe rolling tour vehicle. A lot better odds of just hitting the deer," said Captain Alan Welsh, district commander for South Dakota Highway Patrol.

Tori Bjorke was on her way to Pierre last week when a deer came out of nowhere. She did the right thing -- she hit the deer and didn't swerve.

"There's probably just over $7,000 of damage to it. The radiator was leaking fluid, the whole hood and the windshield was busted up," said Tori.

Thankfully nobody was hurt. If you do find yourself in a var vs. deer crash, like Tori, the average cost of repair is anywhere from $500 to having your car totaled.

"It'll completely take the front end off of the plastics, radiators, bumpers, condensers for the air conditioning. It'll destroy the front of a car completely," said John Muchow, owner of Edmunds Brakes and Alignment.

Muchow says by the end of the month, he expects to start seeing deer-damaged cars at his shop.

"You're going to cause more damage to either somebody else's car and yourself if you try to avoid them -- just hit them," said Muchow.