Monday, November 9, 2009

Deer-vehicle collisions rise in Pennsylvania


Pennsylvania has always been a top deer-hunting state.

It remains a top deer-mashing state, too.

According to State Farm Insurance, only in two states — West Virginia and Michigan, in that order — are drivers more likely to hit a deer with a car than they are in Pennsylvania. That moves Pennsylvania up one spot from last year, when it ranked fourth.

The insurance company rated a driver's chance of hitting a deer with their vehicle here at 97 to 1.

The odds are 1 in 78 in Michigan and 1 in 45 in West Virginia. To put that in perspective, that means a driver's chances of hitting a deer with their vehicle in the Mountaineer State is roughly two times greater than the possibility that they will be audited by the Internal Revenue Service in 2009 and 1,100 times greater than their chance of winning a state lottery grand prize by purchasing one ticket per day for the next year.

The average property-damage cost of a deer-vehicle collision nationwide is $2,950, up 2.5 percent from a year ago, State Farm said.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, there are about 1.5 million deer-vehicle collisions annually in the United States, causing more than 150 fatalities and $1.1 billion in property damage.

More fallout

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation's decision to pull out of the Elk Country Visitors Center in Elk County has cost it another resource.

Sue Meehl, who had been RMEF's volunteer chairwoman in Pennsylvania for the past 22 months, recently told members in a letter that she was stepping down from that position. She said she made her decision because she didn't agree with either the foundation's decision to withdraw from running the elk center or the "misleading" way in which that withdrawal was handled.

Elk Foundation officials said previously they intended to turn over the elk center to another entity all along. Volunteers say that wasn't the case, pointing to a 30-year agreement the foundation signed to run it.

Meehl said she will remain a life member of the Elk Foundation, but plans to devote her time to getting the visitors center launched.

Deer hunting

An additional 200 acres of Moraine State Park will be open for archery deer hunting during the late season.

Park officials recently decided to allow hunting on the land, located between North Shore Drive and Lake Arthur encompassing the bicycle trail, for the season that runs Dec. 26 to Jan. 9. Hunters will have to register by calling or visiting the park office after Dec. 1 to be allowed on site, however.

In addition, 40 acres will be open to all current hunting seasons, excluding waterfowl, near the Old Route 422 launch area. Detailed maps of the expanded hunting areas are available at the park office.