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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  • Norge

    If you want to feed the deer please come to outstate MN where agriculture has pretty much de-nuded most existing habitat, and forced the deer to concentrate and exhaust local food sources not made inaccessible by snow. The few remaining wildlife habitat areas won’t support the deer numbers and just attract the ‘yotes to the weakened animals, just snowblowing a track thru a beet field to expose some food just under the snow helps, corn and grass drops help also, just don’t make them cross the road to get there!!

  • Pat


    I agree with Norge, but let me also add that ‘deer crossing’ signs are posted in many of these areas where the drivers continue to careen over the roads at 50, 60, or more MPH without any concern for the wildlife. Development has also played a huge role in causing these animals to seek food where they can. If the hunters out there want to continue to have their ‘season’ maybe we should all take a page from places like the Carlos Avery Wildlife Management Area where crops are actually raised to provide for the deer to get through the winters. My family and I enjoy these protected areas for viewing wildlife, birds, etc., while at the same time (although we are not hunters) we realize it is there for hunting also. There has to be a balance. In deep snow winters like this one we feed the deer when we can, using common sense in ignoring the policy.

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