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Deer looking for love pose annual risk for Island drivers

Fall is the annual mating season for deer, when love makes them act a little bit crazy.

Rutting season has begun, when male deer show increased interest in females as well as increased aggression, often challenging and fighting other males.

And they don’t care if there are cars in their way. The BC transportation ministry says drivers need to be extra careful this time of year, as deer in rut can be unpredictable. The ministry says the greatest number of vehicle collisions with deer happen in November.

Rutting deer are most active at night, but they can run in front of vehicles anytime without warning.

The ministry says drivers should be especially watchful at dawn and dusk, when deer are more active. Other tips for drivers include:

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  • 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.
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