Without question, we're in the middle of the worst time of the year for deer crashes in the Garden State.

From just October to December of 2016, there were 4,463 deer-vehicle collisions in New Jersey, according to an analysis of crash data by AAA. That's equivalent to two deer crashes per hour.

Crashes were most common from 5 to 7 p.m. when darkness had just set in.

In the final three months of 2016, here are Top 5 counties for deer crashes:

  • Monmouth — 568
  • Burlington — 454
  • Somerset — 364
  • Hunterdon — 349
  • Morris — 321

The average insurance claim for a deer crash is a little over $4,000, according to Joe Erickson, an automotive services territory manager with AAA Mid-Atlantic.

The most common consequence, Erickson said, is damage to the front end of one's vehicle — a shattered windshield or busted hood and grill, for example.

"Cars are built pretty well now," Erickson said. "It would take a very large deer, and substantial damage from that deer, to really total a car."

New Jersey drivers filed the second-highest number of deer-related claims (531) with AAA in 2017. Only California recorded a higher amount.

"We have a lot of roads that are packed in between woods," Erickson said. "We've built the state up to the point where we're encroaching on their habitat. So they have less places to go."

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Contact reporter Dino Flammia at dino.flammia@townsquaremedia.com.

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