Rutting Season is Here: Watch for Deer

No one likes falling into a rut – unless you’re a male deer that is.

Why do bucks enjoy being in a rut so much?

Well… the rut, or ‘rutting season’ as it’s also known, is the annual mating season for deer. During the rut, male deer show increased interest in female deer, as well as increased aggression toward other male deer. To secure the object of their affection, bucks will often challenge and fight other males – often with no regard to their surroundings.

Which is why the greatest number of deer-vehicle collisions usually occurs in November when the rut peaks. Deer-vehicle collisions can cause serious injuries and loss of life. When the rut is on, all bets are off and travellers on BC highways need to pay extra attention.

During the rut, deer are most active at night, when they feed, congregate and mate; but it’s important to note that deer in rut can run in front of vehicles at any time – without warning.

How to avoid deer-vehicle collisions:

  • Be especially watchful at dawn and dusk, when deer are more active.
  • If you see one deer, watch for others, as deer seldom travel alone.
  • Be alert near wooded areas or green spaces, such as parks and golf courses, and near water sources such as lakes, ponds and streams.
  • Watch for deer crossing signs. These signs are placed in areas with high numbers of deer-vehicle collisions. Be vigilant, heed these warnings, and adjust your speed accordingly.
  • Keep your vehicle in good shape – make sure your headlights and windshields are clean and in good condition.
  • Use your high beams at night and scan the road ahead of you.
  • Don’t swerve to avoid hitting a deer. Serious collisions sometimes occur when motorists swerve and collide with another vehicle or run off the road and hit an obstacle.
  • Always wear a seat belt and use child safety seats. They are your best defense should you be involved in a deer-vehicle collision.
  • Honk your horn with one long blast. A long blast on your horn may frighten large animals away from your vehicle. Don’t rely on devices such as deer whistles, they have not been proven to reduce collisions with animals.

Being able to experience wildlife up close and personal is part of what makes BC so amazing. Let’s do it safely.

Do you have any comments or questions about this, or anything else we do at the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure? Let us know in the comments below.

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