‘The rut is on.’ Georgia sheriff warns drivers about deer

Walton County Sheriff Joe Chapman is issuing a warning to Georgia drivers that it is once again deer season on the roadways.

In a Facebook post on Friday, he wrote:

“The rut is on. Bucks have taken to the streets and are tearing up vehicles in a rampage in search of love. So drivers, you need to be extra careful as the number of deer accidents in the past few days has increased significantly.”

Georgia used in the top five in the nation in insurance claims from car collision with deer, but has since fallen to 19th in recent years, according to data compiled by State Farm. In 2016, motorists had a 1 in 122 chance of striking a deer. That’s fallen more than 6 percent to a 1 In 131

October to November is the peak season for deer and car crashes involving deer.

State Farm offers the following advice for drivers when dealing with deer:

  • Stay alert. Pay attention to "deer crossing" and “wildlife crossing” signs and be cautious in areas near woods or water.
  • Use high beams. Flicking your high beams on an animal in the road may cause the animal to scurry away. High beams also help illuminate dark roads.
  • Don't swerve. If a car crash is inevitable, maintain control of your vehicle and don’t veer off the road.
  • Brake as necessary. If you can avoid hitting the animal, reduce your speed, honk your horn, and tap your brakes to warn other drivers. If there are no drivers behind you, brake hard.
  • Remember peak season. Animal collisions happen most during October through December, which is hunting and mating season.
  • Remember meal time. Watch for animals in the road between dusk and dawn.
  • Watch for herds. If you see one deer, there are probably more nearby.
  • Don't use a whistle. No scientific evidence supports that car-mounted deer whistles work.
  • Wear seat belts. Always obey speed limits and wear seat belts.

Sheriff Chapman had one more piece of advice, this time for those looking to help cull the herd:

“If you are a hunter, please remember to wear your orange vest.”

Deer hunting season for firearms runs from Oct. 19 until Jan. 12. Archery deer hunting season is Sept 14 until Jan. 12 with an extension for some metro Atlanta counties.

For more information on deer in Georgia visit the Georgia Department of Natural Resource deer resource page at https://georgiawildlife.com/deer-info.