KERRY'S drivers have been warned to be vigilant for deer emerging onto local roads over the coming weeks as the rutting season is again upon us.
With stags traditionally driven by an urge to reproduce from late September to early November, ruts are a common and impressive spectacle. Unfortunately they can also lead to an increased numbers of road traffic accidents as younger males are ousted by dominant males and sometimes forced across roads.
The Wild Deer Association of Ireland ( WDAI) is warning motorists to be vigilant, particularly at dawn and dusk when deer are at their most active.
"High risk areas include woodlands and mountain, particularly in the national park area where deer are prevalent," WDAI Secretary Damien Hannigan states.
The association has asked drivers to reduce speed, stay alert and prepare to stop. Motorists are also advised never swerve abruptly as this could lead to a collision with another obstacle or oncoming vehicle.
The advice also includes using dipped headlights after spotting deer as the full-beam may cause the animal to freeze and be aware that others deer may follow.
"Do not approach an injured deer - if you are involved in a Deer RTA or come across a deer that has been involved in a road traffic accident, immediately contact the local gardaí," Mr Hannigan adds.
Kerry Deer Society's Noel Grimes, meanwhile, has warned wildlife fans not to encroach on deer during the rutting season.
"We wish to advise people going into mountains or lowlands to observe deer during the deer rut that it can be dangerous to approach deer at this time of the year," Mr Grimes states.
"Stags can be quite aggressive and may attack people and dogs so, for your safety, please stay back and use binoculars," he adds.
A supervised ' Red Deer Rut Watch', hosted by the WDAI and the National Parks and Wildlife Service, will take place on Sunday, October 21, meeting at 9am in Knockreer Estate. The Kerry Deer Society will also hold its Deer Rut Walk on Sunday, meeting at Torc Upper Car Park at 2pm.
Also, on Saturday, October 20, in the Brehon Hotel, Dr Ruth Carden will give a presentation on Kerry's unique red deer herd. The talk presents the results of the study for the first time in Ireland and is free of charge. Contact 087 2496987 or firstname.lastname@example.org for both events.