N.J. officials warn drivers to be vigilant as rutting season nears peak



With the autumn white-tailed deer breeding season upon us, New Jersey officials are urging motorists to exercise caution on the state’s roadways.

Shorter days and cooler weather trigger the fall rutting season, dispersing deer as they search for mates, according to a state news release.

“Deer are involved in thousands of collisions with motor vehicles in New Jersey each year, with highest number occurring during the fall mating season,” Division of Fish and Wildlife Director Larry Herrighty said. “We strongly urge all motorists to be especially 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 passengers.”

The peak mating season for deer in New Jersey runs from late October, throughout November, and into mid-December in all regions of the state, beginning earliest in northern regions, the release states.

Deer activity is particularly amplified during dusk and dawn, corresponding with the daily work commute, according to the release.

AAA says there were 4,463 deer crashes in New Jersey during the 2016 season — or two deer crashes per hour. During that period, Monmouth recorded the highest of all counties with 568 crashes. 77% of the state’s crashes occurred during the evening rush hour.

Motorists are encouraged to alert the state’s Department of Transportation to any roadside dead deer by utilizing this website.