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Whitetailed Deer. Courtesy of USFWS.




Yes, deer
Mating season means more deer crossing roads

11/17/16
By Ryan Lessard news@hippopress.com



 With deer in the midst of their mating season — also known as a rut — Fish and Game specialists are warning drivers to keep an eye out as rutting behaviors mean more deer crossing roads.

“This time of year, this is when the breeding season starts. The majority of the breeding takes place really during a short period of time,” Fish and Game wildlife biologist Dan Bergeron said.
According to a study, Bergeron said, about 80 percent of the breeding happens in a three-week period that peaks in mid-November. 
But behaviors associated with breeding begin sooner than that. 
As the deer hunting season started, deer were harder to spot because of an abundance of acorns for them to feed on and more tree cover thanks to a late autumn. But mating behaviors override those factors, Bergeron said, especially in the males.
“Bucks kind of forget about anything else except finding a doe to breed. They decrease the amount of time they spend sleeping and eating and they can actually lose quite a bit of weight during this time period because all they’re doing is kind of searching for does,” Bergeron said.
Does that go into heat will roam out a little bit more than usual, but they don’t cover nearly as much ground as the bucks. 
Bucks will breed with several does during this period, and a doe will often break off from her family unit, which usually consists of her mother and sisters, when she becomes pregnant. 
But Bergeron said it’s not uncommon to see groups of does or bucks chasing after does over roadways. He advises motorists who stop for one deer to be sure there aren’t any more following that one before moving again. Often, it’s the second deer to cross that gets hit, because drivers are watching the first deer so closely.
The hour of the day matters too. While deer can be seen in the middle of the day, they are most active during dawn and dusk, which is when visibility is most difficult for drivers. 
The breeding behaviors are directed by hormonal changes that are triggered by the shortening length of days. Bergeron said the deer have evolved to enter their rut at a time of year that ensures fawns are born around late May and most of June, a time when the snow is gone and food is more plentiful. If fawns are born too early, they won’t survive due to lack of food. If they’re born too late they won’t have enough time to fatten up before winter.
According to a study Fish and Game did on roadkill deer, about 60 percent were pregnant with twins. 





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