According to AAA insurance, car accident claims related to deer have jumped 37.4 percent in New Jersey over the past three years. That’s STAG-gering. Okay I should be shot for that. Seriously though, that’s a tremendous hike in a state that’s already among the worst statesfor deer car collisions.

Could the reason simply be that hunting hasn’t been enough to curb an exploding deer population? Do we have to get more lenient with hunting? Longer seasons? I also wonder how much our own technology is dooming us. A deer darting out is very hard to catch even when you’re trying to look out for them. Once we have more and more texting on the road, the chances of catching the tell tale glowing eyes in the dark periphery grow worse.

Perhaps strangest of all is the county that had the most AAA insurance claims filed for striking an animal was Camden. My guess would have been Hunterdon but that county didn’t even make the top 5.

A few tips to not end up a statistic:

Be observant of those deer crossing signs. They really are there for a reason. While deer can dart out of anywhere at any time, those signs are put at places notorious for deer who are creatures of habit and often use the same path.

Look for groups. Where there is one, there may be more. Deer are herd animals.

Never swerve. Swerving can cause a loss of control and can be more deadly. Instead slowdown and brake.

Finally, for God’s sake take those antlers and red noses off your cars this holiday season. It’s rutting season and you dressing up your car like some in-heat deer is only asking for trouble now, isn’t it?

Have you ever hit a deer with your vehicle? Share your story below.