CARTER COUNTY, MO (KFVS) - If you've driven in rural parts of the Heartland, you've probably noticed all the deer on or beside the roads.
The Missouri Department of Conservation says the deer population is on the rise, which could be bad news for drivers.
State troopers say deer along roads like highway 60 can be very dangerous for drivers. They say deer collisions are becoming more and more common. It's something locals in Carter County say is concerning.
"Two or three times a week you see a lot of deer out here on the highway," Linda Bellah said.
Numbers from the Missouri Department of Conservation show there could be more in the future.
"We've had a slowly increasing deer population which is what we like to see," Conservation Agent David Baldridge said.
Baldridge says deer in Carter County are not over populated, but they're keeping an eye on the numbers, largely for drivers' sake.
"Another concern of ours in over population is deer collisions, so the safety aspect," Baldridge said.
Numbers from the Missouri Highway Patrol show there have been 15 reported deer collisions so far this year in that section of the Heartland. However, a lot of those collisions so unreported.
Local insurance agent John Bailiff says deer collision claims account for a lot of his work.
"In my 15 years, I've seen them all, numerous claims, even deer running into the side of vehicles," Bailiff said.
Bailiff says deer collision claims come across his desk all the time.
"A lot of times the time of year really doesn't matter, deer move constantly." Bailiff said.
That's something drivers say has them on edge, especially when driving at night or early morning.
"By the time I get home I have to peel my hands of the steering wheel."
"[It is] dangerous because we came home one night and it was foggy. There was a deer in Ellsinore right in the middle of the highway," Bellah said.
It's a concern the Missouri Department of Conservation will address at open house meetings the summer.
"The biggest thing that the public meetings will help address is the regulation changes and how we are going to address a growing deer population in certain areas," Baldridge said.
The meetings with the Missouri Department of Conservation will be held in Jackson on June 24th and in Van Buren on June 25th.
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