Roughly 3,300 Pennsylvanians Sought a Permit to Eat Roadkill

In my lifetime, I’ve already probably had to slam on my brakes to avoiding hitting a deer more times than most of you have seen a deer in person. And that deer in the headlights thing is no joke. Deer are basically the Kardashians of the animal kingdom. You throw a light on them and they just stand there and preen, completely oblivious to how miserable they’re making everyone around them.

The reason this happens to me so often is that I live in Pennsylvania. Deer are a big deal in this state, and not just because they’re constantly kamikaze-ing into hapless drivers who are just trying to get to Eat’n Park or Wawa or some other local chain with a funny name. When I was a kid, all the schools were closed every year for the first day of buck-hunting season. That worked out well for me because while sitting out in the freezing cold to shoot a deer wasn’t my thing, staying home and playing Metal Gear Solid was.

A lot of deer get hit by cars every year, though. According to Wikipedia, about a million deer are hit by cars in the United States every year, resulting in over a billion dollars of damage to property and 200 human fatalities. Per year. Last year, 49 people were killed by Islamic terrorist attacks in the United States, which means that deer are worse than ISIS, so keep that in mind next time you want to hassle people for hunting them.

But the pressing question is what happens to roadkill deer? Well, in a lot of cases, people eat them. In the high-stakes world of man vs deer, if you walk away from a car accident with a deer, you might as well eat the bastard. It saves the roadkill cleanup crew some work and offsets the massive repair bill caused by having a 150-pound whitetail deer Myrtle Wilson itself into your Buick LeSabre. Seriously, it isn’t a great deal, you can buy a whole cow for like, $1500, and venison is gamey.

In an interview with Pittsburgh’s NPR station WESA, Pennsylvania Game Commission spokesman Travis Lau said a little over 3,300 people applied for a permit to break out the roadkill cookbook and take the deer that just tried to kill them home.

Lau characterized the number of people requesting a roadkill permit in 2017 as fairly typical for a given year. The game commission’s offices in the southeastern and southwestern parts of Pennsylvania received the most inquiries.

None of this is the crazy part of the story, and we’ve already covered people eating roadkill deer and 200 deer-related fatalities a year. No, here’s the crazy part:

Collisions with deer occur most frequently in fall months during mating season, and they also tend to spike in the spring when young deer leave their mothers, he said. A report from State Farm backs this up. The insurance agency in 2017 ranked Pennsylvania drivers third most likely in the nation to hit a large animal, like a deer. State Farm estimates one out of every 63 drivers in the state hit a deer this past year.

One in 63 drivers in the state is in an accident with a deer every year. And that’s only third in the nation, essentially because so many people live in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia compared to the rest of the state where the deer live, though I’m sure at least one football fan from one of those cities tried to dress NFL referee Tony Corrente in antlers and a brown coat and run him down after what he did to the Eagles and Steelers just this month.

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