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Gas up the trucks....were going deer hunting for $$ :)
Lawmaker suggests Missouri's Department of Conservation pay drivers $250 if they hit a deer, because they're in charge of managing the herd.... I actualy think its not such a bad idea.

Missouri representative promotes bill to limit deer population
The Kansas City Star

JEFFERSON CITY - Rep. David Pearce says there are too many deer in Missouri and the Department of Conservation, which manages wildlife, should thin the herd.

That's why the Warrensburg Republican said he is sponsoring a bill that would make the Conservation Department responsible, at least partly, for accidents between vehicles and deer.

"They (the department) are the stewards of the herd," Pearce said. "They were the ones who helped repopulate deer in the state of Missouri. They manage the herd. They set the hunting season.

"They want to take responsibility, until those animals create economic damage, and then they're just hands off. Where there's economic loss, they should help pay for that."

He said one insurance company paid out more than $9 million in Missouri claims last year because of deer-vehicle accidents. On average, the claims are about $2,000 per accident.

Under the bill, the department would have to pay for the first $250 in damage to a vehicle that hits a deer.

That amount is the same as Pearce's car insurance deductible, which he had to pay after a Nov. 12 accident in which his vehicle collided with a deer on Missouri 13 just south of Warrensburg.

"I didn't see it coming," Pearce said. "It was just right in the middle of the highway."

The accident caused $2,400 worth of damage to his Dodge Caravan, which sustained a crumpled hood, a broken bumper and other damage.

Neither Pearce nor any of his family in the van were injured, but the accident -- which killed the deer -- was jarring and more than a little inconvenient, he said.

"Basically, because of that incident, it's $250 out of my pocket," Pearce said, adding that he had to rent a car for a time.

Pearce's bill would put the burden of proof on vehicle owners, who must show "clear and convincing evidence" of a collision with a deer.

"When you've got blood and fur sticking out of your headlights like in my case, it's pretty easy to determine that, yes, it was a deer accident," he said.

There were 5,482 accidents between cars and wild animals in 2001, the Missouri Highway Patrol said.

Based on that figure, legislative staff estimate, it would cost the Conservation Department at least $1.4 million a year to pay the damage claims.

Conservation officials, however, estimate the number of deer killed each year in vehicle accidents at about 8,000. At that level of claims, Pearce's bill would cost taxpayers at least $2 million.

Pearce said the bill would not affect the state's general revenue fund, because the Conservation Department is funded by its own one-eighth cent sales tax along with fees for hunting, fishing and other activities.

Conservation officials oppose Pearce's plan.

"We think department funds are better spent at working on population management as opposed to paying vehicle collision damages," said Gerald Ross, an assistant director at the department.

Pearce said that's really the intent of the bill: to prod conservation officials into trimming the deer population.

"If we had no payouts, I would be thrilled," the lawmaker said.

Conservation officials estimate there are 1 million white-tailed deer in Missouri, 2,500 times more than in the 1920s, when the 400 deer in the state were considered endangered.

Through conservation efforts that restricted hunting and preserved habitats, the deer have multiplied so much that urban areas now have the worst problems with the animals.

The top 10 counties in the state for deer-vehicle accidents are in urban areas, most around Kansas City and St. Louis.

Even so, Missouri has fewer such accidents than several of its neighbors, including Kansas, Arkansas, Illinois and Iowa.

"We have people that say we have too many deer. We have just as many people say we have too few deer," said Lonnie Hansen, a resource scientist for the Conservation Department.

The department has eased hunting regulations since the first season began in 1944, Hansen said. Now hunters can kill up to 10 deer a season.

It's a difficult balance to strike, he said, adding, "We're always going to have deer-vehicle accidents."

Pearce said he understands that, but he contends that the current level of deer accidents is too high.

"I can see the point that it's an act of God, that it's an act of nature," he said, "but we can control the amount of deer."

The bill is scheduled for its first committee hearing Wednesday.

The deer collision bill is HB 386.

17,216 Posts
Since I live in Missouri I would be $250 better off because my wife got her car hit by a deer this past December at night while driving on I-435 expressway. Fortunately, there were no injuries.

The body shop replaced the grill, hood, fender, and some other parts on her brand new Park Avenue Buick car with less than 5,000 miles on the odometer. Comprehensive insurance coverage paid the entire bill so I don't know the actual figure. My guess is that the total cost was around $1,500. Deer are definitely a road hazard around this state.

The strange thing is that I didn't see even one deer while sitting dead still for two days up in a 12 foot high tree stand, bleary eyed, waiting for an innocent eyed bambi or a big horny buck to stroll along during hunting season. :D Da mn! And I was looking forward to filling my freezer and shooting my O3A3. About wore out the rounds loading and reloading them several times in two days.

Ox:D :nod:
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