With the fall season beginning, the white-tailed deer mating season (referred to as the “rutting season”), is quickly approaching. The rutting season can start as early as the end of September, and is often at its peak during mid-November. White-tailed deer, especially male bucks, are more active and aggressive during this season. Due to this increase in activity, deer have a higher risk of being struck by a motor vehicle.
These deer, which are native to the New Jersey area, are involved in thousands of serious motor vehicle accidents annually, with as many as half of these accidents occurring during the fall months.
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Fish and Wildlife is cautioning NJ residents to be alert while driving during this fall breeding season. Motorists are reminded to be especially attentive during early morning and evening hours, when visibility is lowest and deer are more active. It is important to be aware of deer crossing signs which may be posted in certain areas, and to use your high-beams when necessary. If you notice a deer crossing the road, proceed with caution, as deer often travel in groups during the season.
Residents are also encouraged to inform the New Jersey Department of Transportation of any deer carcasses seen along state highways, in order to ensure proper removal by municipal and county governments and to aid in the tracking of these deer communities. Residents can share such information by submitting a simple form, which can be found at: www.nj.gov/transportation/commuter/potholeform.shtm.
Important tips to help motorist during the fall rutting season can be found on the NJDEP webpage at: https://www.nj.gov/dep/newsrel/2016/16_0096.htm. Additional information about the white-tailed deer can be found at: https://www.njfishandwildlife.com/deer.htm.