LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan's 16-day firearm deer season is getting underway, although with limits for hunters across much of the southern part of the Lower Peninsula.
Hunters in that part of the state won't be allowed to kill as many deer as usual because of an insect-spread deer disease.
Firearm deer hunting season is starting Thursday and runs through Nov. 30.
The new limits on antlerless deer hunting are a response to epizootic hemorrhagic disease. The state Department of Natural Resources has collected reports indicating thousands of deer have died from the disease in Michigan this year.
Wildlife officials decided that stricter limits on antlerless deer licenses would help populations bounce back faster in hard-hit areas.
The disease isn't a threat to humans.
In Michigan in 2011, there were 53,592 vehicle-deer crashes, down from 55,867 in 2010, according to the Michigan Deer Crash Coalition. Last year, eight people died in deer-vehicle crashes and another 1,464 were injured. to www.michigandeercrash.org.
In Michigan, vehicle-deer crashes cost at least $130 million per year; the average insurance claim is about $2,100 in damage, usually to the front of the vehicle, which often leaves it undriveable.
The five counties with the most vehicle-deer crashes in 2011 --
Kent -- 1,750
Oakland -- 1,736
Jackson -- 1,536
Calhoun -- 1,429
Montcalm -- 1,340
How to avoid crashes with deer --
-- Don't swerve
-- Brake firmly
-- Hold onto the steering wheel with both hands
-- Come to a controlled stop
-- Steer your vehicle well off the road
-- Watch for deer especially at dawn and dusk. They are most active then, especially during the fall mating season
-- In spring, deer will move from cover to find food, and back to cover
-- Often they will feed along road rights-of-way, where grass greens up first
-- If you see one deer, approach cautiously, as there may be more out of sight
-- Deer often travel single file, so if you see one cross a road, chances are more are nearby waiting to cross, too
-- When startled by an approaching vehicle, they can panic and dart out from any direction without warning
-- Be alert all year long, especially on two-lane roads. Watch for deer warning signs, which are placed at known deer-crossing areas and serve as a first alert that deer may be near
-- Slow down when traveling through deer-population areas
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