How Many Deer Are Killed Each Year – A Heart-Breaking Situation for These Beautiful Creatures

deer car crashes

Americans and Canadians share seven deer species and sub-species that roam the land from the east to the west coast. Some people believe wild deer are a beautiful part of nature, while others see the deer population as a fun sport and hunt.

Since deer move, some experts predict 1.5 million accidents yearly. Other sources suggest that deer collision statistics are much higher.

A popular car magazine points out that the seasonal clock change also impacts deer-vehicle collisions. The magazine’s source pegs deer accidents even higher at 2.1 million with a 10 billion dollar price tag and nearly 60,000 injuries.

On average, 440 people die. There were over 1.8 million animal collision insurance claims in the U.S. in one year, and State Farm reported 1,288,714 deer collisions. On top of deer-vehicle accidents, deer hunters kill at least 6.3 million white-tailed deer yearly.

how many deer are killed each year

Top 9 Most Disturbing Stats

How Many Deer Are Killed Each Year – Deer Accidents Statistics

deer accidents

We’ve all seen carnage on the road when a vehicle kills a deer. Quite often, the sight attracts scavenger birds. West Virginia has the highest likelihood of having deer-vehicle collisions. Pennsylvania filed the highest number of insurance claims. 

The number of animals killed each year is difficult to calculate. American deer hunters bagged 6.3 million white-tailed deer in 2020-21 (a record since 2011). The deer harvested included antlerless harvest (deer without antlers (seasonal shedding) or antlers less than 5″) and the antlered buck harvest.

The buck harvest totaled over 3 million (the most in 21 years). Hunters are taking fewer yearling bucks.

Quote from Kip Adams, NDA’s Chief Conservation Officer, “We’re killing older bucks and more bucks than ever in America.” These numbers don’t include any poaching figures.

Unmistakably, humans in cars and deer crossing their habitat are bound to collide. As cities and towns sprawl, suburbia is encroaching on forests and farmland. The IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) (1975-the 2000s) stated collisions with animals steadily increased based on deer accident statistics.

The Incidence of Deer-Car Accidents Is Higher During Dawn (6 -9 PM) in Winter, According to Deer-Car Accidents Statistics (Consumer Reports)

Insurance companies see a drastic increase during autumn, peaking in November, according to an IIHS spokesperson. Specific insurance claims data (2006-2020) highlighted that November experienced twice the average deer-vehicle collisions. This number is 3.5 times higher than the claims filed in August.

Deer begin a seasonal migration between winter and summer feeding ranges and are actively mating in the fall. However, deer and animal-related fatalities during spring and summer are increasing. Driving during dusk and dawn is also a peak animal moving time; beware of deer crossing signs.

Car-Deer Accidents Cause Approximately 175–200 Fatalities and Over 10,000 Injuries (West Bend Insurance)

Wild animals on the road might react irrationally. Most drivers panic or don’t see the fast-moving animal approach. Many drivers react by swerving to spare the animal’s life. Hence, approximately 175 to 200 deaths occur due to car-deer accidents. Driving experts suggest slowing the speed of the vehicle safely without causing collisions with other vehicles. 

deer car crashes

By slowing your speed and staying in your lane (even if it means hitting the deer), you might prevent a massive and severe collision. Slowing your velocity also allows the animal that split second it needs to get out of harm’s way. It might even spare the life of an endangered animal.

Latest Stats from 2023 Revealed, In the US, the Odds of Hitting a Deer or Animal by Car Is 1 in 127 (State Farm Insurance)

The fear of hitting a wild animal while traveling is real. Driving with extreme caution is the driver’s responsibility. American drivers have more than 1.8 million animal-related accident insurance claims. Some are preventable, and others end the lives of the driver and the animal. West Virginia has the highest animal-deer collision rate. 

Interesting odds at a glance:

  • 1 in 215 odds of having a date with a millionaire
  • 1 in 220 odds of becoming a NY Times bestseller
  • 1 in 175 odds of having your taxes audited
  • 1 in 250 odds that your child is a gifted genius

West Virginia Has Had the Highest Number of Deer-Car Accidents for 12 Consecutive Years (State Farm Insurance)

It’s not surprising, considering West Virginia’s geography. The state has lush forests and state parks where deer move freely. Although deer-vehicle collisions occur less frequently, with a 7.5% decline, drivers in West Virginia face a 1 in 38 chance of hitting a deer.

The following chart shows the top ten states with the greatest likelihood of an animal-vehicle collision in the US.

the top 10 states about animal vehicle collision

The Worst State for Harvesting Deer Is New York (DEC)

 Fewer bucks harvested

Tragically, New York hunters shot more than 211,000 (down by 17%) deer during the last hunting season (2021-22).

The DEC (Department of Environmental Conservation) New York state deer show a resurgence of Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease. Hard to say why they’re bragging about their 36% increase in juvenile deer kills.

There Were More Than 1.8 Million Deer Accidents from July 2022 to June 2023 (State Farm)

deer collisions

Animal collisions declined from 2017 to 2018 from 1.34 million to 1.33 million, despite an additional 4 million new drivers. The odds of hitting a moose, elk, caribou, or deer is 1 in 167. Eyes on the road, people!

Almost 120 People Are Killed Annually by Deer (ICB)

A significant number of people, almost 120, die from deer-vehicle collisions. The number of animals killing people in the USA is 1 in 1.4 million. Deer are considered the deadliest animal in America because of car fatalities. Seldom is someone gored.

In One Year, the Cost of Deer-Related Accidents Increased From $162 to $4314 (AASHTO Journal)

The truth is that the actual number of deer-vehicle collisions is down, according to insurance claims. However, the cost of the claims rose significantly. This fact is primarily due to newer vehicles on the road, increased medical costs, and the value of the cars.

How Many Deer Are In The US

more than 5 million collisions occur every

Deer come in 50 species, though most live in Asia. Cervids are hoofed mammals and cud-chewing animals that forage on plants. 

  • White-tail deer
  • Mule deer
  • Caribou
  • Moose
  • Elk
  • Brocket deer

Many of these animals are part of trophy hunting for sport, and many more become victims of poach hunting.

Latest Stats Show In the US, There Are 35 to 36 Million Deer (Wild Life Informer)

albino deer just fun facts

Deer roam from Canada to South America. The total number of deer population living in the US is estimated to be 35-36 million. Estimates suggest that by overhunting and poaching, the deer population fell to 1 million just a hundred years ago and came close to extinction. Extensive government programs and activist intervention saved the deer population.

Currently, There Are 100 White Tailed Deer per Kilometer (Koryos Writes)

Congrats people! Animal preservation works. Deer populations are thriving. The ideal ratio is eight deer per kilometer instead of 100.

Deer are adaptable, and since we diminished the deer’s natural predators, like wolves, cougars, and grizzly bears, the balance is off. Deer have found a way to live in urban and suburban neighborhoods. Farmland and gardens also provide a source of food.

Deer Hunting Facts and Statistics  

Below are some deer population hunting stats and facts.

Hunters Kill Around 6 Million White-Tailed Deer Every Year (Koryos Writes)

deer in a car

They do it in the name of conservation, trophy hunting, and getting the biggest stag. Active hunters bag 6 million white-tailed deer yearly. They also legally trophy hunt for moose, elk, and other wild animals. Poach hunting kills many more.

Despite the heavy death toll, deer populations can double every year. 

According to Stats, Hunters Purchased More than 15.6 Million Hunting Licenses in 2018 (Archery Trade Association)

Americans (between 4-5% of the population) have had a long love affair with hunting, trophy hunting, and poaching. What is poaching? Although there are license requirements for most hunters, poaching is a problem when individuals hunt and kill animals without the legal right to do so.

Texans lead the pack with the most licenses (more than 1 million). Seniors and youths get a discount on permits in 46 states. 

According to Deer Hunting Stats, Approximately 80% of the Hunting Population Hunts Big Game (Archery Trade Association)

deer collision

Hunting is part of the tradition for many American families. Deer is the number one hunted animal and a target for 8.1 million hunters. Another 2 million hunters like to shoot elk, bears, and wild turkeys. There are duck and trophy hunters who apply for tags to get a moose.

48 People From 11 States Face Charges for Violating State Hunting Laws in One of the Sensational Poaching Cases in Wisconsin (goHUNT) 

Fill out a form, pay the license fee, and you can hunt. It’s that easy. However, Adam Lee Lawinger thought he was above the law. The Blue River, Wisconsin resident and poaching leader organized a baiting and hunting ring between 2002 and 2005.

Several members of the ring faced charges. Lawinger got two years in jail and a $73,534 fine. 

Mississippi Has the Highest Rate of Buck Killing, i.e., 74 per 100 Hunters (National Deer Association, Deer Report)

Maybe it’s about bragging rights, but Mississippi hunters shot a vast majority of bucks with a score of 74 out of 100. Man, do those antlers look good on a wall? Further, the Deer Report found that hunters killed 65% of their trophies with a firearm, 26% took out the archery equipment, and 9% took out the muzzleloader. 

US Buck Harvest Statistics

Stags and bucks are male deer. Stags are adult, while bucks also refer to immature male deers. Females are does.

The Highest Buck Harvest of the Century Was Recorded in 2020 (NDA’s Report) 

In 2020, hunting license applications increased by 5% over the previous year, which means 500,000 more whitetails went home in body bags. This number also raised the antlerless deer harvest above the buck harvest. Hunters reported seeing more mature bucks.

Here is a graphical representation of Oklahoma whitetail harvest from 1999-2020.

white tailed harvest

According to the New Deer Report, Texas Had the Highest Buck Harvest of 449,933  (Deer Report)

Everything in Texas is big. The boots, the trucks, the 10-gallon hats. According to the Deer Report, trophy hunters took home a total of 449,933 bucks. 

This was followed by Michigan with a harvest of 412,175 bucks. It is worth noting that the number of bucks harvested varies from state to state and is affected by factors such as population size, hunting regulations, and environmental conditions.

Alabama Has the Highest Buck Harvest, With a 27,000 Increase Over the Previous Season (Deer Report)

antlered bucks

Alabama had the most significant increase of any state; hunters killed slightly more bucks than 27,000. No doubt, hunting conservationists hope to balance the wildlife population and cull healthy and sick deer.

Delaware Took Top Spot in the Buck Harvest per Square Mile (Deer Report)     

The second smallest state by land size had a staggering 57% increase in its buck harvest. Hunters also tagged more bucks per square mile than any other state.       

A Few More Interesting Deer Statistics

The Largest Deer Species, Moose and Elk, Weigh up to 1300 and 1600 Pounds, Respectively, and the Average Deer Weighs Between 100 to 140 Pounds (, USDA,

national deer association

Moose and elk are formidable and majestic creatures. The largest male moose was killed in 1897 and stood at 7.6 feet at the shoulders. 

Whitetail and mule deer are much smaller, and most mature deer weigh in at 140 pounds, while does are much lighter at 200 pounds.

The Average Lifespan of White-Tailed Is 4.5 Years (Grand View Outdoors)

white taileddeer

The life of a wild white-tailed deer is fraught with danger from hunters, predators, cars, and trains. In captivity, a deer’s life ranges from 6 to 14 years, with some notable exceptions. 

In the wild, that lifespan is cut short to 4.5 years. Disease is another element that impacts the population and survival.

Deer Kept in Captivity Can Live Up to 23 Years (Grand View Outdoors)

Every once in a while, something has to change the statistics. A handful of deer has made it to 23 years old. Others, including a doe from Vermont, reached the ripe age of 19 years. Males typically die younger.

Baby Deer Called Fawns Can Weigh As Little as 5 Pounds at Birth (

Fawns are tiny at birth. On average, they weigh just six to eight pounds at birth to have a good chance at survival. Their moms nurse them with four servings of doe milk to reach their 60-70 pound winter weight.

Fawns Are Usually Born Between April and June, and Many Does Give Birth to Twins and Triplets (

 Fewer bucks harvested

True story. Twins and triplets are pretty common. Most does give birth in mid-spring to early summer. Does typically disguise their offspring in shrubs and tall grass to forage for food. She also does it to deter predators by leading them away. Moms feed generously at dusk and dawn.

Deer Have a 310-Degree Vision (Grand View Outdoor)

Whitetail deer have a unique facial structure. This makes it challenging to focus on a point. However, they have incredible night vision. They’re more active at dusk and dawn and can hear high-frequency sounds better.

Deer Travel 3,000 Miles in a Year (Minnesota Zoo)

As soon as a fawn is born, it must learn to stand for its survival. Although it’s wobbly, fawns learn to walk within minutes of birth. It’s been reported a nomadic reindeer (Deer) has traveled up to 3000 miles; that’s like walking across America to search for food during harsh winters.

Some Deer Herds Have 100,000 Members (ADW)

deer herds

Have you heard? Some deer herds have up to 100,000 members. Deer are social animals that interact and like to graze and move together. It’s common to see a group of bucks or a bunch of does.

1 in 20,000 Deer Are Born Albino, According to Deer (World Deer) 

Albinism is a rare genetic autosomal recessive inheritance pattern where people or animals don’t have less melanin or no melanin. Albino deer are rare. At Seneca Falls, the white deer herd has a protected status. This bunch of deer has over 800 deer members.


How Many Car Crashes Occur by Deer?

Statistics suggest deer cause 1.5 million accidents.

What Animal Causes the Most Car Accidents?

Deer causes the most accidents for several reasons. There are at least 30 million of them trying to cross the road.

Where do deer sleep at nighttime? 

Deer habitats are areas protected by shrubs or trees; sometimes, they hide in tall grass or an open field.

Can Deer Sleep Standing Up?

Few can sleep standing up, but most lay down as they lose muscle control when they fall asleep.

At What Time of Day Are the Most Deer Killed?

Most deer collisions happen at dusk and dawn.

How Are the Deer Harvest Numbers Estimated?

It’s a complicated process where many (30) teams venture into the deer processing stations and count the sex and age of the animals being butchered.

They also record feedback from hunters and wildlife conservation organizations. They check about 25,000 deer each fall. They compare counted numbers against hunted numbers and extract an estimate. 

Can Deer Kill a Man?

A male deer can gorge a person or trample a small person. Attacks are very rare. But since moose also fall into the deer category, they’re dangerous during rutting season.

Wrap Up

It’s difficult to imagine a world without deer in it. Deer cause conflict when they trespass onto roads or railway lines, although they are very docile creatures.

Some communities in North America have a living relationship with their deer population. They are a sight to behold when you look out your window, and there they are.

Monika Martyn
Monika Martyn is a nomadic minimalist and published author. Her pet portfolio includes experience with over forty cats and dogs, and she becomes their surrogate and a valued pack member. One of her proudest accomplishments is typing while petting a fur baby on her lap. She also excels at dog-speak and cat-talk and is working on mastering fish lingo. Aside from her animal advocacy, she is passionate about the environment, plastic pollution, and living with less (not including chocolate and coffee). She practices yoga and meditation faithfully. She’s experienced living abroad and believes that together people can evoke change for the better. Or at least be kind to one another despite our differences. She has an uncanny knack for remembering people’s names. She’s proud of her two Pushcart Nominations, her debut novel, and her marriage. When she’s not writing, she’s thinking about writing. Monika believes that education is the biggest gift to humanity at any age.

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