‘Tis the season to be extra cautious about wildlife on or near B.C.’s highways. (Photo credit: Needpix.com)

‘Tis the season to be extra cautious about wildlife on or near B.C.’s highways. (Photo credit: Needpix.com)

Avoid close encounters of the furry kind if you’re hitting the road

Rutting season is here, so there is more potential for increased animal activity on BC’s highways

Will you be hitting the road over the next few weeks? Drivers are being warned to make sure that’s all they hit, as rutting season is here, meaning that some wildlife will be more active than usual.

Rutting season is the annual mating time for deer, elk, and moose. During the rut, male deer show increased interest in female deer, as well as increased aggression toward other male deer, often causing animals to move quickly and erratically with little regard for their surroundings. The season occurs from late October to December, with the most activity seen in mid-November.

Because of potential erratic and sudden movements from deer and other large mammals, there is an increased risk for animal-vehicle collisions. If you’re driving on B.C. highways make sure to pay extra attention to the possibility of animals on the road, especially when driving at dusk, dawn, and during night hours when these animals are most active.

Here are a few tips to help you avoid a close encounter of the furry kind:

* Be vigilant when driving at peak hours when deer are most active: dawn and dusk. If you see one deer, watch for others, as these animals seldom travel alone.

* Be alert near wooded areas or green spaces, such as tree lines, parks, and golf courses, and near water sources, such as lakes, ponds, and streams.

* Watch for deer/elk crossing signs and flashing wildlife-warning signs, such as the ones recently installed on Highway 18 in Vancouver Island’s Cowichan Valley. These signs are placed in areas with high numbers of reported deer-vehicle incidents. Heed these warnings and adjust travelling speed accordingly.

* Keep your vehicle in good shape: make sure headlights, windshields, and wipers are clean and in working condition.

* Use high beams at night when there are no oncoming vehicles, to help you scan the road and roadside ahead. Honk your horn with one long blast to frighten animals away from your vehicle.


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