Twin Cities repair shops seeing more work as deer become more active

With the sun setting earlier and deer getting more active this time of year, it's a bad mix for drivers.

Minnesota is one of the top 10 states where drivers are likely to hit an animal, and the DNR says you are more likely to hit a deer this time of year.

At Bonfe's Auto Repair Shop in St. Paul, mechanics are fixing up a Subaru Forrester that has seen better days.

"The deer hit the corner and I'm assuming he spun around and hit the door here because there is extra damage," said Brian Bonfe.

In fact, there is $10,000 in damage thanks to a close encounter with a deer.

"Right now, especially when the weather is getting colder, deer are flocking all over the place," explained Minnesota DNR Big Game Program Leader Barbara Keller.

The DNR says deer are much more active in the fall because this is their breeding season, and they are usually on the move around sunrise and sunset when more motorists are on the road -- who may have trouble seeing them because of the shorter hours of daylight.

"Males, in particular, are looking for females," said Keller. "When they find a female, they may chase her. So they may be running or darting across roadways when they normally wouldn't be doing that."

Brian Bonfe of Bonfe's Auto Repair Shop stands next to a vehicle that recently hit a deer.

Don't veer for a deer

Experts say drivers shouldn't veer for deer because most deaths and injuries happen when motorists swerve to miss an animal.

Use high beams

They also say to use your high beams as much as possible to increase your chances of seeing deer in ditches.

Wear seatbelt

Always wear your seatbelt. It will decrease your chances of being injured if you do hit a deer, which doesn't only happen up north.

"People may be surprised to hear that we have a robust deer population here in the metro especially in the suburbs," said Keller. "So people may not be looking out for deer and may be surprised to see a deer come in their path in this part of the state."

Back at Bonfe's, they say following these rules of the road will help drivers steer clear of deer.

"Watch, pay attention and no kind of distracted driving at all," recommended Bonfe. "Deer hits happen like that."

Even though some people swear by them, experts say there is no scientific proof that deer horns actually work, and honking your horn may not prevent a crash either. It may only startle and confuse a deer on the side of the road.