Donegal's motorists urged to be vigilant during deer breeding season

Woodlands and mountains are high risk areas

Donegal's motorists urged to be vigilant during deer breeding season

Deer can jump out in front of motorists without warning. Picture: John Rafferty

Motorists urged to be vigilant during deer breeding season

It’s that time of year when motorists are being asked to watch out for deer migrating on to Donegal's public roads.

It’s autumn and in our forests and across our mountains, tensions are rising as the rutting 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.

Remember motorists, deer do not (always) obey the rules of the road

While the rut is an amazing experience to witness it is also a time when there is an increased incident 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 are 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.

No county, regional or national statistics on road traffic accidents involving deer are kept by either local authorities or the national roads authority and even though they are aware of a number of incidents down through the years, no records are kept.

Undoubtedly, rising deer populations will lead to a greater incidence of such accidents and there is anecdotal evidence that this is the case in Ireland.

Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.

Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.