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Minnesota drivers hit thousands of deer a year. Here's where it happens most.

It's not on the northern forest roads, or on a long winding curve where it's hard to see. It's not in the grasslands or on the narrow county highways that roll past farms and thick corn fields. The most likely place for a deer to suddenly jump out in front of a car and cause a crash in Minnesota is just outside of Minneapolis, on one of the busiest roads in the state - Interstate 94 between Maple Grove and St. Cloud.

"When you get just outside the real metro urban area and into the outskirts of Twin Cities, that's where you get this confluence of a having a really high deer density and lots and lots of traffic," said Ron Moen, a wildlife biologist at the Natural Resources Research Institute in Duluth.

Scientists at the institute and the University of Minnesota are finishing a project to map exactly where in the state drivers are most likely to hit a deer. The map, which hasn't been published yet, will be publicly available by the end of the summer. The hope is that the data will help road engineers find the most dangerous stretches and prioritize where to put up wildlife fences or other protections, Moen said.


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