Deer claim the most lives of any animals in the Northland


We live in the Northland for a variety of reasons, but access to nature is probably at or near the top of the list for most residents. We live in a resort with trees and lakes and hundreds of thousands of species of animals nearby. Which got me wondering: which critter lurking out there is most likely to take me down? I know, a morbid thought, but I at least want to know the odds.
A post called Man vs. Beast at was a wake-up call. The least risk of deadly animal encounters is on the East Coast of the US, while Montana has the most animal-related fatalities every year. We are somewhere in the middle; the odds of having a very bad day still more than 1 in 1 million. So no, you don’t need to spend too much time worrying about this. And why is the risk greater in Wisconsin than Minnesota? Not sure.
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The number one killer isn’t mosquitoes, spiders, snakes or big bears lurking in the woods. It’s swerving to avoid a deer crossing the road and hitting a tree. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control: “Responsible for an estimated 120 fatalities in the United States every year, deer represent the greatest risk to Americans in animal-related deaths.”
The problem comes down to sharing the road. According to Man vs. Beast: “Due to rapid urban development, the deer’s natural habitat is shrinking, causing them to share more space with humans, where they often wander into oncoming traffic and cause car crashes.” But we knew that already. All we can do is slow down, especially at twilight, when more deer are feeding and wandering onto the roads.
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Credit: Man vs. Beast, Credit: Man vs. Beast, loading…
Nationwide, being bitten or struck by a “large mammal” is the number one cause of death. In the Northland the #1 concern is hitting a deer. We are taught to brace and actually hit the deer dead-on, not swerve, because the swerving dramatically increases the risk of hitting a tree, which is often fatal.
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A few things I found interesting: man’s best friend is #3 on the list. Dogs claim an average of 20 (human) lives every year, followed closely by cows and horses.
Shocking: even though they command an entire week on Discovery Channel, sharks aren’t even on the list, with less than one fatality a year, on average, in the waters off the US.
Reassuring news indeed here in the cool, shark-free waters of the Northland.


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