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Driver deer warning

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By Fiona Reid
Annan and Eskdale
Driver deer warning

DRIVERS across Dumfries and Galloway are being advised to look out for deer crossing the roads as the evenings draw in.

The deer rutting season is at its peak and Scotland TranServ has identified the A701 Beattock to St Ann’s and wooded areas of the A75 as potential local hotspots for deer strikes.

Their senior environmental specialist Isla Davidson said: “Deer are often more mobile at two particular times each year: In May and June young deer disperse from breeding grounds to search for new territory of their own. Meanwhile, October and November is the rutting season for the larger deer species (red deer, fallow and sika), when adult males challenge each other for breeding rights. Deer are particularly active around sunrise and sunset which, at this time of year, coincides with the peak commuter time when there are likely to be more vehicles on the road. Their darker winter coats make deer particularly difficult to spot, so please be extra vigilant as they can appear without warning out of the fields and woodland that border much of the region’s road network.”

Nationally, 40,000 deer are killed in vehicle strikes every year and it is thought that up to 400 vehicle passengers are injured. Dr Jochen Langbein, who oversees the Deer Vehicle Collisions Project, said: “In Scotland, as in the rest of the UK and many other European countries, wild deer numbers have increased significantly over recent decades. Many people think most accidents with deer and vehicles occur on more remote Highland roads, but in Scotland at least 40 percent occur on A-class trunk roads or motorways, including across much of South West Scotland’s road network.”

There are an estimated 700,000 wild deer in Scotland, mainly of the red and roe species.  Tommy Docherty, Scotland TranServ’s Network Control Centre manager, added: “Our teams are particularly busy at this time of year, tackling the aftermath of deer collisions; not only dealing with the loss of life of this beautiful native animal, but the damage to cars and indeed injuries to drivers and passengers. It can be very distressing having to attend such incidents.”

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