Rising deer numbers pose threat to drivers

10.45 | 18 October 2011 | | 3 comments

Deer could be involved in as many as 74,000 collisions with vehicles across the UK every year, according to research carried out by The Deer Initiative and Government agencies (Telegraph).

With this in mind, drivers are being urged to be more aware of the animals this autumn, as the days become shorter and deer are at their most active.

Recent figures show that the number of deer in Britain has more than doubled in the past decade to reach two million. According to the Telegraph, the rise is a consequence of the introduction of new species, such as muntjac and Chinese water deer. In addition, the combination of warmer winters, an absence of natural predators and a decline in hunting has resulted in an increase in the numbers of native roe and red deer.

The Deer Initiative, a group of charities and Government agencies responsible for controlling the number of deer in Britain, estimates that there were at least 42,000 traffic collisions involving deer last year. But Dr. Jochen Langbein, the project leader, described the figure as a ‘conservative estimate’ and said the actual number could be as high as 74,000 because many incidents go unreported.

Dr. Langbein said: “The Autumn peak is between about now and the end of November, especially at this time because we have the change in daylight savings when the rush hour suddenly clashes with dawn and dusk when the deer are most active.

"The three large species of deer in Britain: red deer, fallow deer and sika deer, all have their mating season now, and during that time they are a lot more active."

Click here the read the full Telegraph report.


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    Good advice, Roy, I would add that there is seldom only one deer on its own so, if you seen one at the roadside or it crosses ahead of you, look out for more to follow. They are a herd animal and often hesitate, then follow the leader.

    Honor Byford, North Yorkshire
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    My next door neighbour hit a deer on her way back from Hastings, hardly the wilds of the Highlands. The damage on the car looked as if she had hit a brick wall and cost thousands to repair.

    Whilst motorcycling through Ashdown Forest, a deer leaped out in front of me. It is debatable who was more surprised. The deer, scrambling to get back into the woods, fell in front of me. I would like to think it was my riding skill but, to be frank, it was more a panic reaction that made me swerve and miss the animal.

    Now, when I see the warning sign, I trickle along at forty hugging the centre line of the road. I am more portly than I used to be and ride a heavy motor bike but I am no match for a mature deer. Be warned!

    Roy Buchanan, Epsom
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    Oh Dear. Sorry could not help it.

    Stuart Rochdale
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