Drivers in Epping Forest warned to take extra care on the roads as deer breeding season begins
Drivers in Epping Forest are being warned about the increased dangers of deer on the roads during their breeding season between September and November.
Autumn is the time for “the rut” – the mating season for deer which involves several weeks of heightened activity, including more unpredictable movements of animals because of strenuous competition between males for groups of females.
The bucks are so involved in the rut they are less cautious around the roads and more likely to run out suddenly, particularly at dawn and dusk. The majority of the casualties will be does, being drawn or herded across roads – casualties increase due to a combination of the rut coinciding with shorter daylight hours, the clocks going back for the end of British Standard Time and autumn mists and fog.
Philip Woodhouse, Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Epping Forest Committee said: “During this time deer are less aware of the danger around them such as cars on the road.
“Collisions on the roads involving deer can be dangerous not only for the deer, but also for those in the vehicle. We ask all drivers to be very mindful of the potential danger posed by these wild animals, at all times of the year, but particularly during this time.
“Working in partnership with Essex Highways the City has installed warning signs, reduced roadside vegetation to increase visibility and installed deer-warning reflectors on roadsides. We have also trained staff to respond swiftly to deer/vehicle collisions 24 hours a day.”
The City of London Corporation manages over 11,000 acres of green space across London and south east England, including Epping Forest, Hampstead Heath and Burnham Beeches, with many of its sites designated National nature Reserves and Sites of Special Scientific Interest for their unique ecology and rare plant species.
Epping Forest is London and Essex’s largest open space, attracting 4.2 million visits a year. It has over 1 million trees, some of which are up to 1,000 years old – including 50,000 ancient pollards of Beech, Hornbeam and Oak.
The AA calculates that 42,000 deer are killed in collisions on roads each year. More than 400 car occupants are in injured in accidents with deer each year.
Susanna Lascelles, Media Officer, City of London Corporation
T 020 7332 1754