The Irish Deer Commission is urging motorists to be vigilant during the breeding season at dawn and dusk, when deer are most active, particularly in high-risk areas such as woodlands and mountains.
In a statement, a spokesperson for the commission said: “It’s autumn and in our forests and across our mountains, tensions are rising as the rutting season or deer breeding season reaches its peak, the time of the year when male deer are driven by an urge to reproduce.”
“From early October until 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 crossroads and motorways.”
The commission is advising farmers in high-risk areas to do the following:
- 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.