Tips for Drivers During Deer Mating Season

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Deer Mating Season

The arrival of fall means deer mating season is here. While deer are in our area all year round, drivers are asked to be extra careful during this time.

“So definitely in the males they become a little bit more bold, their testosterone increases, they become a bit more reckless if you will. And that’s where vehicles come into play,” said Brian Kraskiewicz, ecologist at the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County. “Where a deer is typically more cautious during the year, not to say there’s not accidents, but they’re a bit more cautious.”

During mating season, females who are involuntarily being pursued may be running away from a buck, finding themselves in traffic.

Tips for Drivers

The biggest tips for drivers is to make sure you stick to the speed limit, slow down in areas with deer crossing signs, and watch for their eyes since they reflect light. If a passenger is with you they can act as an extra set of eyes. If you do approach a deer and have time to slow down, try honking your horn and flashing your lights. Sometimes though, there isn’t time to stop.

“Experts have said that it’s better to unfortunately hit the deer than try to swerve it. Because if you try to swerve it there may be oncoming cars, you’re swerving onto the oncoming traffic which you could cause more harm to someone else or yourself,” said Kraskiewicz.

According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, 13,787 motor vehicle crashes involved deer in Illinois in 2020. Of those, 110 happened in DuPage County and 322 in Will County.

That’s why it’s so important to be aware of your surroundings, especially if you’re driving through a forest preserve or open land. Mating season starts this month, and the peak time is mid to late November. You’ll want to be extra aware at dawn and dusk, which is when the animals are most active. If you do hit a deer, pull over and call 911. Deer mating season can last through December.

Naperville News 17’s Aysha Ashley Househ reports.