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Deer on the move, damaging vehicles

Newswatch 16's Amanda Eustice shows us damage done to vehicles in the Poconos.

MONROE COUNTY, Pa. — Damaged vehicles have been coming into Pocono Motion Body Shop on North 5th Street in Stroud Township this fall. The main culprit is deer.

"This year, I think the deer claims have tripled. We're just really extremely busy. Every Saturday I come in, I have five cars towed in from the weekend — massive deer hits," owner Rich Banks said.

Gerald Kapral with the Pennsylvania Game Commission says we are about a week away from the peak of the rut, known as deer mating season. This is the time when bucks and doe are more active and more likely to jump out into the road.

"Car-deer collisions are on a big uptick here in Pennsylvania. We have, I'm trying to think, about 65,000 miles of roadway here in Pennsylvania, and that's a lot when you figure out a population of over 1 million deer and how many automobiles are on the road. You know, I don't want to say a car-deer collision is inevitable; it could happen," Kapral said.

Banks says this is one of the busiest years for deer collisions he's seen in his 38 years in business, with 33 cars that have already come in with damage.

"We're about four weeks out right now, but we're hearing some of the shops in the Lehigh Valley are almost booking into January. So, I'm just blessed with good workers."

Game wardens have advice if you hit a deer.

"You're going have to call for a tow service. You're going to want to notify the police department that you've been involved in an accident with wildlife, and then you going to go from there. It's a determination on if you drive the car, can I not drive my car? And then your insurance company, you know, give them a call and, unfortunately, give them the bad news."

The Game Commission says the best thing to do is drive slowly and pay attention. If you see one deer, chances are there are more following.

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