It’s been a rugged year for the Missouri football program in its first year in the Southeastern Conference. The basketball team is third in pre-season basketball rankings for the SEC. But only one state ranks ahead of Missouri in the SEC in another important ranking.
It’s the likelihood of deer-vehicle collisions.
Now, these collisions are hardly sport. But deer-hunting is. We have limited seasons for killing deer with guns, muzzle-loading guns, bows and arrows, and atlatls. The season for killing deer with vehicles is year-around.
State Farm Insurance says only Arkansas drivers are more likely to collide with deer than Missouri drivers are when it comes to the Southeastern Conference. Here are the company’s rankings for Southeastern Conference deer-vehicle collisions based on the odds of such incidents in the fiscal year that ended last June 30:
1. Arkansas 1 in 102.5
2. Missouri 1 in 116.0
3. Mississippi 1 in 120.5
4. South Carolina 1 in 126.4
5. Kentucky 1 in 130.3
6. Alabama 1 in 146.1
7. Georgia 1 in 151.4
8. Tennessee 1 in 183.3
9. Louisiana 1 in 307.8
10. Texas 1 in 333.7
11. Florida 1 in 990.6
The company figures deer and vehicles tried to occupy the same time and space 36,592 times in Missouri during the most recent fiscal year. The same thing happened in Arkansas only 20,281 times. But Missouri has more than double the number of licensed drivers (4,246,249) than Arkansas has (2,077,808), so the considers the likelihood lower in Arkansas..
Although the Southeastern Conference thinks it is the top conference in the nation, it’s not that big in comparison to other conferences when it comes to deer-vehicle convergences. Arkansas is only ninth when all of the other states are rated. Missouri is 15th. The Big Twelve’s West Virginia is number one in the nation. South Dakota is number two with Iowa, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Montana, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Arkansas, and Virginia rounding out the rest of the top ten. The Big Ten has half of the top ten.
We’ve taken a somewhat light-hearted approach to discussing the issue so far. But it’s so serious that State Farm has moved Missouri from being a medium-risk state to being a high-risk state. And we’re coming up on the most dangerous month of the year for these collisions. State Farm says November is deer mating season so they’re even more scatterbrained than usual. It’s also the month for the serious part of deer hunting season which means a lot of deer are going to be on the move for that reason, increasing the likelihood they will be on the roads. Plus, people keep building houses and roads and streets in places where the deer have lived for centuries.
Be careful out there. This is one time we don’t want to be number one in the SEC. Or anywhere else.