With increasing numbers of deer, conflicts inevitably occur. Nationally, there are estimated to be 50,000 traffic accidents per year involving deer, including human fatalities. Fallow is the deer species most frequently hit by vehicles on local roads.
It is possible to minimise the chance of hitting a deer by following these rules:
- Deer move between feeding and resting grounds at dawn and dusk: take particular care at these times.
- There are peaks in deer traffic accidents during the rut in the autumn and after fawning in the spring; again, take particular care during these periods.
- Deer usually travel in small groups; if one crosses the road in front of you, look out for the rest following.
- Where woodland or scrub comes right to the road verge, take special care - deer may step straight onto the carriageway.
- At night, animal eyes reflect headlights - slow down if you see them on the verge.
- Inevitably, traffic speed is the main factor governing the number and severity of animal traffic accidents - drive across the Forest as slowly as practical and adhere to the mandatory 40mph signs..
If you are unlucky enough to hit a deer within the boundaries of the Forest, ring the Rangers on 01342 823583. The Rangers have considerable experience of dealing with injured deer and will give the animal every chance to recover. However, deer will rarely survive a heavy impact, in which case the Rangers are trained to put the animal down humanely. If you are outside the area, ring the police.