The ‘Rut’ Is Almost Upon Us
Late September marks beginning of rut season — the breeding period — for the omnipresent whitetail deer in Canyon Lake.
Although establishing precise dates for the rut in any given year is not an exact science — hunters refer to it as “the riddle of the rut” — 2018 peak breeding dates for whitetail deer are Nov. 7 for the eastern Edwards Plateau region, Nov. 24 for the central region, and Dec. 5 for the western part.
The rut is especially dangerous for Canyon Lake residents and their pets. Whitetail deer here are hand-fed at area lodges, graze freely in just about everyone’s backyard, and make themselves at home in the middle of FM 306 at night.
Residents throughout the area and the state are urged to exercise caution while driving, and to avoid any interaction with deer, who become more aggressive from late September through early next year. This mean they’re fairly unafraid of humans, which makes cross-species interaction — discouraged by Texas Parks and Wildlife at any time of the year — riskier than usual.
Also, car-deer collisions in Texas spike in late fall because bucks have just one thing on their minds — and it isn’t highway safety.
Landscaping takes a hit, too, as bucks also like to sharpen their horns in anticipation of inevitable fighting over mates. Many residents protect trees by wrapping their bases with wire meshing.
Deer densities in the Edwards Plateau are highest in the state, at 117 per 1,000 acres. There are an estimated 3.6 million whitetail deer in Texas.
State Farm Insurance reports the chances of colliding with a large animal more than doubles during the months of October, November and December, during deer mating season.
Whether you hit a large animal or it jumps into the side of your vehicle, such collisions can cause significant injuries and property damage, the company said on its website.
“We know there is an increased risk of collision with deer around dawn and dusk, and also during the October-December breeding season,” said Chris Mullen, Director of Technology Research at State Farm. “However, drivers should be engaged, alert and on the lookout at all times, because you never know when you may need to react to a deer or any other obstacle that may suddenly be in your path.”
So keep your eyes on the road:
- Slow down, particularly at dusk and dawn
- If you see one deer, be prepared for more deer to cross the road
- Pay attention to deer crossing signs
- Always buckle up, every trip, every time
- Use your high beamsto see farther, except when there is oncoming traffic
- Brake if you can, but avoid swerving, which could result in a more severe crash
- Remain focused on the road, scanning for hazards, including animals
- Avoid distractions, like devices or eating, which might cause you to miss seeing an animal
- Do not rely on products such as deer whistles, which are not proven effective
- If riding a motorcycle, always wear protective gear and keep focus on the road ahead