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Illinois hunting and fishing

Danger is down the road

November 18, 2008 at 07:28 AM

PEORIA — To bag a deer in Illinois, one can spend hundreds of dollars on equipment, sit in a tree stand for days at a time and patiently wait for the perfect shot to come along.

Another option is to grab the car keys and go for a quick drive between September and December.

Either one usually means bad news for the deer, but the second scenario is great for auto body shops that are now seeing a flood of deer-related collision repairs.

“We’re buried with them,” said Roger Whitman, estimator with Green Chevrolet in Peoria.

The dealership’s collision repair center had about 10 cars Monday that were recently damaged in accidents involving deer.

Auto body shops across the area say literally hundreds upon hundreds of deer-kissed vehicles come through their doors annually, especially during the fall.

And it’s not just drivers in rural areas that are having encounters with deer.

“I’ve got 10-point bucks getting hit down here on Knoxville (Avenue),” Whitman said. “It’s unbelievable. It’s right in the middle of the city.”

There is a reason more deer get hit during

this time of year, and it’s called the rut.

The rut is a period of reproduction that causes testosterone levels to rise in male deer, which are on the prowl for females between September and December, according to Illinois Department of Natural Resources spokeswoman Stacey Solano.

The deer become more active and wander onto roadways, where they meet their fate and possibly cause thousands of dollars in damage in the process.

Local auto body shops say the average cost to repair a deer-damaged car is between $2,500 and $3,500.

“Last week we had six or seven towed in because of deer collisions,” said Denny Boulton, owner of D’s Paint and Body Shop in Peoria Heights.

An adult male deer can weigh 200 pounds or more, and their bodies seem perfectly designed for destroying cars. The bulk of the deer is positioned on top of its skinny legs. When they get hit, a car’s hood acts like a wedge and forces the animal toward the windshield and roof.

“The front bumper just snaps those legs like toothpicks,” said Whitman, who recently saw a car that sent a deer airborne and had it crash through the back window, landing inside the backseat near the driver’s son.

“We’ve had them jump, come through the windshield and rip the roof off,” Boulton said.

Elmwood resident Betty Dawson learned firsthand last Thursday about how deer and cars can unexpectedly cross paths.

“My headlights hit this buck,” said Dawson, who was driving between Farmington and Elmwood. “It was completely across my lane, like it was posing.”

The deer did extensive damage to the car, but Dawson and her son were uninjured.

“I was shook up,” she said. “I didn’t have much time to react. I was just praying that it wouldn’t come through the windshield.”

Illinois hunting and fishing

ADAM GERIK/JOURNAL STAR Jose Montoya, a body man at D’s Paint & Body Shop in Peoria Heights, holds the radiator of a 2008 Honda CRV that was damaged in a front-on deer collision. Although an official estimate hasn’t been made, shop employees say it will likely total approximately $6,000 in repairs.

Your CommentsComments :: Terms :: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Maybe we should take some time and talk to our neighboring states and start urban archery. Illinois seems to like the lottery system so much, i’m sure they could find a way to implement it in this situation. On the other hand there must not be a fool proof way to line the govenor’s pocket’s with urban archery.  I just wonder if the DNR or our public officials have hit many deer.  I’m guessing not.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/20 at 04:33 PM

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