It’s autumn and in our forests and across our mountains, tensions are rising as the rutting or deer breeding season gets underway, the time of the year when male deer are driven by an urge to reproduce. From late September until early November the clash of antlers will be heard as males show off their virility to potential mates and, like gladiators entering an arena, they parade around showing off their armoury of antlers.
While the rut is an amazing experience to witness it is also a time when there is an increased incidence of road traffic accidents involving deer as male deer go in search of females and younger males are ousted by dominant males forcing deer to cross roads and motorways.
The Irish Deer Commission is calling on motorists to be vigilant at dawn and dusk, when deer are most active, particularly in high-risk areas such as woodlands and mountains.
What should drivers do in high-risk areas?
- Reduce speed where they see a warning sign and stay alert.
- Prepare to stop, never swerve as you could hit another obstacle or oncoming vehicle.
- When you see a deer “dip your headlights” as the full beam may cause the deer to freeze.
- If a deer has crossed in front of your vehicle, be aware that others may follow.
- Do not approach an injured deer.
- If you are involved in a deer road traffic accident or come across a deer that has been involved in a road traffic accident, immediately contact the local Gardaí.
The Irish Deer Commission operate a humane deer dispatch scheme with 75 trained volunteers assisting agencies and charities who deal with an increasing number of deer-vehicle collisions nationally.
Photograph – Sika stag involved in deer vehicle collision by Joe Murphy with permission