Mating season may make deer more aggressive, CPW warns

Colorado Parks and Wildlife
Colorado Parks and Wildlife((KKCO/KJCT))
Published: Dec. 7, 2022 at 12:46 PM MST
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) - The mating season for dear is currently in it’s peak across Colorado. The Colorado Parks and Wildlife wants to remind everyone to take extra precautions to avoid conflicts.

“Bucks are more aggressive this time of year and will stand their ground in the presence of people,” said CPW Area Wildlife Manager Adrian Archuleta. “It is especially important for people and their pets to give deer extra space this time of year.”

The mating season for deer is known as the “rut.” During this time, bucks are more territorial and are loaded with testosterone. They may attack people if they view them to be competitive rivals.

Bucks may also view dogs as threats.

In previous years, bucks have attacked and severely injured people and dogs.

If you see a deer in your neighborhood, keep your distance. Never attempt to get close to deer, never feed them and never try to pet them.

The Colorado Parks and Wildlife recommends:

  • Keep dogs on a leash and do not let dogs roam free.
  • On walks, with or without your dog, stay as far away from deer as possible.
  • Check your yard before letting your dog outside.
  • Never let your dog chase deer or wildlife.
  • Never leave food outside that could attract wildlife.
  • Teach children and remind them not to approach deer or any other wildlife.

Bucks in the rut may also spar with and become tangled in swing sets, volleyball nets, bicycles, vegetable-wire cages, hoses, and more.

Along with tangle hazards in yards, holiday lights become a constant hazard to bucks during this time of year.

Be sure that holiday decorations and lights are attached firmly to structures and strung at least eight feet off of the ground. Do not drape lights loose on top of shrubbery or wrap lights around the trunks of trees. Bucks rub their antlers on tree trunks to sharpen them during the mating season.

“Our wildlife officers respond to calls every year of deer stuck in various netting and holiday decorations,” Archuleta said.

In some cases, these hazards prevent the deer from being able to eat and breathe. Additionally, this causes high levels of stress on the animal and can lead to fatality.

“When deer do become entangled, it is important for the public to call their closest CPW office quickly with location information,” said Archuleta. “People should never try to free deer of these hazards themselves because of the serious risk of injury that can be caused by antlers and hooves.”

Drivers are also reminded to slow down and be on the lookout for deer on highways. Not only are bucks in pursuit of a mate, but animals are also migrating to winter range and will be more present crossing roadways both on highways and arterial roadways.