You may have noticed a recent abundance of deer in our yards and along roadsides. There are several reasons why they are becoming more apparent.
All fawns have grown up and are exploring their new territories. They are becoming more confident and will wander into new areas to find different food sources. With habitat destruction in our state, and fewer food resources, they are forced to wander closer to humans, and unfortunately-our roadsides. They will travel a radius of about six miles in search of habitat and food.
Daylight savings means nothing to a deer, but it means everything to the time of day that we head to and from work. Deer are crepuscular, meaning they are mostly active at dawn and dusk. They lay low during daylight hours, and meander out of the forest edge when the sun begins to rise or set. We happen to be on the road at these times. In the summer, we are often traveling in the sun’s light, missing the presence of these beautiful beasts.
Beware of the darting deer! Male deer, bucks, will stay with other males most of the year, but the rules have changed this time of year; rutting (breeding) season is beginning. Male deer are trying to establish territory and will often move away from the bachelor pad to avoid competition. They are seeking mates and even fight for access to those lovely does. Being polygamous creatures, they will have several mates in a single mating season. They will challenge other males and make themselves known to the ladies by scraping trees, and marking scents in the area. Although the breeding season is not in full force until November, October is a time to be especially aware of the deer barging into traffic. November is also hunting season, and this frightens many out of the forests and out into the open areas and roads.
So be careful this time of year. Take care of not just ourselves, but the animals that are forced into our areas by our own actions and presence; especially deer.
Here are some tips on how to keep yourselves and deer safe this fall:
* Stick to the speed limit, and look for wildlife crossing signs. Signs are evidence of prior spottings or hits.
* Scan the sides of roads, looking for glowing or reflecting eyes and be prepared to slow down if you spot any.
* Watch for brake lights up a head, they may be encountering wildlife on or near the road.
* If an animal crosses in front of you, slow down or stop. There may be more.
* If it is raining, deer hooves will often slip on the wet pavement. Give them consideration to allow time to cross.
Deer are beautiful and harmless creatures. Observe with awe and be alert this fall!