Auto Shops Report More Winter Deer-Related Crashes

By John Lauritsen, WCCO-TV

BROOKLYN PARK (WCCO) — It seems like every day we’ve had some snow this winter and nearly every commute has been affected by snow and ice. However, not all the accidents this winter have been caused by the weather. Minnesota’s wildlife is partly to blame.

A 2010 Honda Civic sits inside Modern Auto Body in Brooklyn Park with a bent fender, a broken headlight and a beat-up driver’s side door — adding up to about $3,000 worth of damage. It’s all courtesy of the local deer population.

“It’s heavily populated, so, and the roads are right there, so people are doing 35 up to 50 miles an hour — whatever it is — on side streets, and the deer just come out of nowhere,” said Mike Hendren of Modern Auto Body.

A couple years ago, the Minnesota State Patrol quit tracking deer-vehicle collisions. They are really more common during the breeding season in October and November. But this year, the added snow has made things far more interesting. Some Twin Cities auto body shops have reported an increase in deer-related accidents this January, compared to previous years.

“Certainly when there’s a lot of snow in the metro per se, it puts those animals on the road because the roads are plowed, the sidewalks are plowed. They are just like us, it’s easier to walk in,” said Lou Cornicelli of the DNR.

The deer aren’t just walking the roads, however, they are likely heading to someone’s backyard for food.

Cornicelli said people who live in cities where there are deer herds are leaving food out this winter because they think the deer aren’t getting any. He said they are really doing more harm than good.

“It puts ’em on the road. So, you increase the likelihood of deer-vehicle collisions, which, obviously, no one wants to see. So, the best thing for folks to do is really just leave them alone,” said Cornicelli.

Cornicelli said deer tracks in a suburban neighborhood likely means that someone is feeding the deer. He wants to remind people that a lot of cities have ordinances against feeding the deer.

WCCO-TV’s John Lauritsen Reports

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