Montana's general hunting season starts this weekend and, for some reason, that's the month that auto-deer collisions increase each year. The rest of the year is dangerous, too.

Ravalli County is always near the top of the list in the state for such accidents.

Last year, one of every 61 Montana drivers filed an insurance claim for accidents with deer, elk or moose, according to Commissioner of Securities and Insurance Monica Lindeen. Our state is second highest for such accidents. West Virginia is on top.

The average insurance claim for hitting a deer or elk in 2015, Lindeen said, was over $4,000.

TIPS:

  • Use high beams at night when possible.
  • If you have to avoid a deer, don't swerve. Hit the brake.
  • Deer travel in groups. If you see one, there are always more.
  • Early morning and early evening are times when you should drive cautiously - 60 mph is better than 70.
  • IF YOU HIT A DEER:

  • Move the vehicle off the road, if possible.
  • Check for leaking fluids and damaged lights.
  • Document the incident and damage. Take a photo or two.
  • Notify law enforcement by dialing 911.
  • Do not approach the animal. If it is wounded, it can be dangerous.
  • Check your auto insurance policy. Some policies do not carry comprehensive coverage and won't help in paying for the damage.