I wanted to remind you that the deer are out and plentiful in Licking County. This time of year, deer are in rut. When talking to different people, the term rut often means something slightly different. What is “Rut?”

Rut is a term used to describe behaviors associated with the breeding season of deer.  Rut corresponds to an increase in testosterone in the male bucks which causes various behaviors.

This season lasts from about mid-November to mid-January.  Rutting begins when velvet (soft fuzz) is shed from antlers and ends when the antlers are shed (also the time of declining testosterone levels).

During the rut, bucks are continually on the move. The primary goal of the deer is to breed as many does as possible. This leads to distracted behavior causing deer to run out in front of your car.  Be very careful when driving.

According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, there were 19,375 deer-related crashes on Ohio’s roadways in 2019. These accidents resulted in four human fatalities and 966 people were injured.  Some suggest that the average repair cost to a vehicle that hit a deer is about $6,500. Using range of mild to totaled, this is nearly 126 million dollars in repairs per year just in the state of Ohio, and not every deer related accident is reported to the State Highway Patrol.

This lead me on a search to find out if those little things that you put on the front of the car work. These are called deer whistles and can be purchased at various retail, auto supply stores and online. They emit a sound that is supposed to alert and scare deer. The question is, do they work? Some people swear by them and others don’t believe they work at all. A 2003 study looked at six different whistles mounted on vehicles traveling at 30 to 45 miles per hour. The study indicated that deer hear the whistles, but by the time they hear them it is probably too late. Another study from 2007also suggested that they are likely not effective.

With that being said, I know some people that have had the whistles on their vehicles and have never had a problem with deer while living in a deer-dense area. With a price point of $10, it may be worth a try.

Deer are most active at dusk and dawn. It is important to remember that if you see one deer run out in front of you – there is likely another deer in front or behind.

And one last thought on the rut, deer can also be dangerous to humans and dogs. They can be aggressive. I don’t get a lot of reports of humans having issues but in my career I have seen a few dogs that were attacked by a deer.