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Deer spoiling for a fight

State urges residents to be wary as deer mating season sparks aggressive behavior

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Throughout Colorado, deer are in the midst of their mating season and Colorado Parks and Wildlife is reminding residents to take precautions to avoid conflicts.

“Buck deer can be aggressive and lose their usual wariness of people at this time of year,” said Patt Dorsey, southwest regional manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

During the “rut” bucks are territorial and loaded with testosterone. They may attack people that appear to be competitive rivals. Deer can also see dogs as threats. In past years, bucks have gored people and dogs. If you see deer in your neighborhood keep your distance. Never attempt to get close to deer, never feed them and never try to pet them.

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

“We’ve seen bucks hung up in things like hammocks, clothes lines and plastic fencing,” Dorsey said. “When that happens it’s very stressful on the animal and sometimes fatal. It can also be dangerous for people who might come in contact with a deer that is in a stressed-out condition.”

So now is the time to take a look at your yard, bring in the summer toys and check if there are other things that can snare deer. If items can’t be removed, CPW recommends tying long strands of brightly colored surveyor’s tape to them which might help to keep the animals away.

People displaying holiday decorations and lights are also asked to exercise caution. Lights should be attached firmly to structures, or strung at least eight feet off the ground. Avoid draping lights loosely on top of shrubbery or wrapping lights around tree trunks.

If you do see an animal with items stuck in its antlers call the nearest CPW office. Do not approach the animal or attempt to cut them off yourself.

The rut for deer usually continues until late December.

Drivers are also reminded to slow down and be on the lookout for deer on highways. Deer have migrated to winter range and are likely to be close to major roadways at this time of year.

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