Tennessee Drivers Beware The Deer Rutting Season


Male Deer Has One Thing On His Mind

A long time friend and retired lawyer who, along with his wife, has taken to the road in an RV to explore North America wrote to me the other day to remind me that it’s time to warn my friends and correspondents that it is the time of year to pay particular attention as we travel the highways and byways of Tennessee. It is the Deer Rutting season. Data shows that the deer population of Nashville has been growing every year for the last decade. This problem used to be limited to rural areas of Nashville but, as we have grown into the rural deer territory they have responded by returning to the urban areas to become part of our daily life.

Field & Stream Magazine, my go to source for all things outdoors, tells me that this early part of the season is known as the “seeking and chasing phase”. Couple this natural phenomenon with the time change from daylight savings time, and we have more drivers on the road during the most dangerous time of the day. More drivers, more breeding deer can lead to a deadly mix.

As the peak of the Rut (November 13)  approaches, The chase is on. Bucks begin to become obsessive in chasing does. (usually before she is receptive)  Once the Does become receptive (estrus) bucks tend does (protect them from breeding other Bucks). These activities are often witnessed by neighbors who have property with populations of deer.

What does that mean for the average Tennessee driver? It means that during early morning and dusk to dawn drivers need to exercise care to avoid collisions. Often times this is hard to do, deer don’t stop to look both ways before crossing in front of your vehicle. The key here is, as it is with all driving, DO NOT ALLOW YOUR SELF TO BE DISTRACTED.

At the Rut females break ties with their young.

The Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency (TWRA) advises motorists to take the following measures to help prevent a deer-related crash during the peak mating and hunting season:

-Whenever you see deer cross the road, expect more to follow. Many times, the second or third deer crossing becomes the one that motorists hit.

-Watch for the reflection of your headlights on their eyes, when you see them slow to a crawl until you pass them.

-Never swerve to avoid a deer, leaving the road and going into a ditch or hitting a tree can cause far more damage then the deer.


-Immediately engage your emergency flashers

-Contact 911

-Do not approach the deer unless you intend to harvest the meat and then do so very carefully. Deer can be stunned and reanimate. Deer are powerful animals with a very strong sense of Flee.

Tennessee is unique in that, by law, deer killed in collisions may be taken and utilized as food. All that is required is a phone call to the nearest TWRA regional office to report the accident. More information is available on the TWRA web site.

Proof For Insurance Purposes

To address your insurance carrier you should photograph the deer, the vehicle damage and the general area if light conditions are right.

I wish I had a magic potion that would offer you a foolproof way to avoid the collision in the first place so I’ll throw out the challenge to my technically adept friends to create a software app that will warn us of approaching deer and other critters. Until that time the only advice I have is stay alert and never swerve.

If you, or someone you know is involved in a Tennessee car accident and you, or they sustain serious injuries give us a call. DON’T EVER TRUST THE INSURANCE ADJUSTER, THEY GET PAID BY HOW MUCH THEY KEEP THE COMPANY FROM PAYING YOU. There is no charge for us to evaluate your legal situation. Give us a call at Miller Law Offices 615-356-2000.

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