Graphic video: Deer-related accidents on the rise as hunting sea -

Graphic video: Deer-related accidents on the rise as hunting season starts up

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(Credit: KMOV). (Credit: KMOV).

ST. LOUIS ( -- Anyone who gets behind the wheel this time of year has probably noticed deer are on the move, making driving more dangerous.

According to the Missouri Highway Patrol, about every two-and-a-half hours there's a traffic crash involving a deer.

The Illinois Department of Transportation says nearly half of crashes with deer are during October, November and December.

What usually happens in a lot of cases is a driver sees a deer come out of the nearby woods, then as they’re watching that first deer, they hit the second, third or fourth deer that's following right behind.

Jason Brouk, a manager at Schaefer Autobody in Fenton, knows that each year like clockwork he's going to see more and more customers that have just had a run-in with a deer.

“You can see there's deer fur. Deer hair shoved into the radiator,” he said, surveying damage to a vehicle. “This time of year you get that a ton. ‘I was just driving and out of nowhere, boom, I hit it. Didn't see it coming.’” says West Virginia leads the country with a driver having a 1 in 41 chance of striking a deer. Missouri ranks 17th with a 1 in 117 chance, a three percent  increase from the year before. Illinois ranks 32 where you have a 1 in 199 chance, a four percent increase.

Audrey Comporato knows what it's like. She says she hit a deer once when she was driving in California.  

“Didn't have much of a choice to hit it,” she said. “It was in front of us before we even realized what was going on.”

It all happened quickly.

“It was a good size one. We were in an old Honda Accord. It was as tall as the car so it was a good sized deer that we hit,” she said.

Comporato was lucky. The damage was minimal. Others aren't so lucky.

“We've had 'em towed in where the whole windshield caved in,” said Brouk.

Brouk says the collisions aren't as bad as when two vehicles collide, but still yield a lot of damage.

“It's more cosmetic, not going to have lot of interior panels, frame rails like a normal collision. But lot of denting, front end plastic parts, headlights getting just blasted from a 120 to 150 pound animal getting hit going 50 miles an hour,” he said.

Repair costs can run as high as $5,000-$6,000. MHP says in a lot of cases people panic and overreact when they see a deer. They go off the roadway and overturn, and if they’re not wearing seat belts, they're ejected from the vehicle.

Most accidents occur between 5 p.m. and 7 a.m.

The problem is only getting worse in Missouri and Illinois. Three people died last year in Missouri and nearly 350 were injured.

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