It's that time of year again, the season when you'd better be paying more attention to your surroundings than you might normally. Our local deer population is looking for love.

I wanted to follow that line with "in all the wrong places," but really, the only truly wrong place would be out in the middle of a local highway or road. Or, your living room, assuming they jumped through your picture window (don't roll your eyes, it happens).

Anyway, your chances of a close encounter between your auto and a lovestruck deer go up exponentially around this time of year because the local deer are on the move across the Stateline.

Maybe you've never had a deer dart out in front of you, and you're thinking that it can't be that big of a deal, given the relative size of your car and the average deer. Well then, consider this:

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are about 1 million car accidents with deer each year that kill 200 Americans, cause more than 10,000 personal injuries, and result in $1 billion in vehicle damage.

Granted, Illinois might not lead the nation in car versus deer accidents (we come in at #32), but according to a study last year by State Farm, for the twelfth consecutive year, West Virginia leads the nation as the state where you are most likely to hit a deer. Montana, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Iowa rank right behind the Mountain State as the worst states for deer collisions.

Let's be careful out there.