SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Randy Boulware is part of an unofficial group, steadily growing in members in the state of Missouri. 

He’s hit a deer with his car. 

“I’ve barely bumped one with the bumper and he came out of nowhere,” Boulware said. “I didn’t even see him until I was bouncing him off my front bumper. By the time you see them, it’s usually too late.”

According to a recent study by State Farm, more drivers will join Boulware this fall and winter. That study shows Missouri is one of the top 10 states for animal-involved wrecks. 

The data says 1 out of every 80 drivers will hit an animal when on Missouri roadways. 

Boulware and his wife run Advanced Auto Body in Bolivar, a regional favorite due to their unique promotion when you hit a deer. 

You get a Turkey if you go to them for repairs. 

“We get a few all summer long, but it really picks up a lot in September, October, November, December. So those are probably the crucial months,” Boulware said. “We’re waiting to get our turkeys, but we have a list going. I think there’s about ten already on the list. So it’ll pick up a lot here pretty quick. Like I say, our average per year is somewhere around 75 to 80 probably.

Boulware says the damages from hitting an animal depend on multiple factors. 

“It depends a lot on the size of the animal or how fast you’re traveling,” Boulware said. “If you hit him with your front end, there’s a lot more expensive parts up front than it would be if he runs into the side of your door or something like that. Front end hits are more expensive to repair.”

But as much as it would benefit any business to have more customers, Boulware would rather drivers be safe when encountering wildlife on the roads. 

“Don’t try and go around and you could kill yourself or somebody else trying to miss a deer,” Boulware said. “Just apply your brakes and stay on the road.”