The Department of Environmental Protection's Division of
Fish and Wildlife is reminding motorists to be alert for white-tailed deer
as days get shorter and deer become more active with mating season under
"Deer are involved in thousands of collisions with motor vehicles in New
Jersey each year, with the highest number occurring during the fall mating
season," said Division of Fish and Wildlife Director Larry Herrighty. "We
strongly urge all motorists to be particularly alert to the possibility of
deer suddenly darting onto roadways and to be aware of some steps they can
take to reduce the risk of serious injury to themselves or their
Deer are apt to suddenly sprint onto roadways as bucks actively pursue does.
This activity, known as the fall rut, is most pronounced in the very early
morning and around sunset, when visibility can be difficult. Using caution
becomes even more important when Daylight Saving Time ends November 5,
causing commutes to align with periods when deer are most active and
lighting conditions can be most difficult for motorists.
For motorists, low levels of light and sun glare can make it very difficult
to see deer that are about to cross the road. In addition, multiple deer may
cross the road at any given moment, usually in a single file.
The following tips can help motorists stay safe during deer mating season:
* If you see a deer, slow down and pay attention to possible sudden
movement. If the deer is in the road and doesn't move, don't go around it.
Wait for the deer to pass and the road is clear.
* Pay attention to "Deer Crossing" signs. Slow down when traveling
through areas known to have a high concentration of deer so you will have
ample time to stop if necessary.
* If you are traveling after dark, use high beams when there is no
oncoming traffic or vehicles ahead. High beams will be reflected by the eyes
of deer on or near roads. If you see one deer, be on guard: others may be in
the area. Deer typically move in family groups at this time of year and
cross roads single-file.
* Don't tailgate. Remember: the driver in front of you might have to
stop suddenly to avoid hitting a deer.
* Always wear a seatbelt, as required by law. Drive at a safe and
sensible speed, accounting for weather, available lighting, traffic, curves
and other road conditions.
* If a collision appears inevitable, do not swerve to avoid impact.
The deer may counter-maneuver suddenly. Brake appropriately, but stay in
your lane. Collisions are more likely to become fatal when a driver swerves
to avoid a deer and instead collides with oncoming traffic or a fixed
structure along the road.
* Report any deer-vehicle collision to a local law enforcement agency
* Obey the state's hands-free device law or, better yet, avoid any
distractions by refraining from using cellular devices while driving.
Motorists are encouraged to inform the Department of Transportation of dead
deer they find along the state highway system, and can share information at:
Municipal and county governments are responsible for removal of dead deer
from roads they maintain.
Peak rutting season for deer in New Jersey runs from late October,
throughout November, and into mid-December in all areas of the state,
beginning earliest in northern regions.
As a result of New Jersey's proactive deer management policies, the
estimated population of deer in New Jersey, derived from a formula based on
deer harvested in hunting seasons, is about 100,000, down from 204,000 in
This does not factor in high densities of deer inhabiting areas where
hunting is not permitted. The DEP's Community-Based Deer Management Permit
program is available to help municipalities control deer in areas where
sport hunting is not a viable management tool.
For more information about white-tailed deer in New Jersey, visit:
For more information on the Community-Based Deer Management Program, visit:
New Jersey Motor Truck Association | 160 Tices Lane, East Brunswick, NJ 08816 | 732-254-5000