The Lake County Forest Preserves is asking drivers to be alert. November is the peak month for automobile-deer collisions, and an earlier sunset means a higher chance to encounter deer during evening commutes.
For white-tailed deer, Odocoileus virginianus, rut begins in the fall, normally in late October or early November. During the rut, deer are more active and tend to cover more territory. It is common to see them on roads near natural areas.
Amorous bucks are not paying attention to traffic, so it is important that we watch for them while driving. As development of the land continues, urban areas and deer habitat will intersect in more locations. Drive with caution in areas where deer are common, especially in November.
The breeding season is triggered mainly by a decline in photoperiod. Male deer, also known as bucks, compete for the opportunity of breeding with females. Sparring among males determines a hierarchy of dominance.
Markings are another visible sign of the rut season. One type of mark is called rubbing, where a buck will use its antlers to strip bark off small trees. Rubbings mark a male’s territory and polish its antlers. Bucks also create scrapes to help mark territory. Scrapes are areas where a buck has used its front hooves to expose bare soil. Scent from glands is usually rubbed on markings to attract females and mark territory.