We are warning motorists to watch out for deer on the roads after a flood of calls about tragic accidents such as a deer who got stuck in a car grille.

Deer-related road accidents are at a peak at this time of year, when darker dusk clashes with rush hour on the roads due to the clocks going back, and the rutting season causes greater movement of deer.

We have received 198 calls about road accidents involving deer since the beginning of October – many of them fatal. In the past two weeks since the clocks went back (on Sunday 27 October) there have been 70 calls alone.

Muntjac stuck in grille of car © RSPCAJust some of the recent examples include:

  • A roe deer found collapsed on the A59 in Clayton Le Dale near Blackburn on Sunday evening (10 November) with blood coming from his eyes.
  • A roe deer with half his leg missing on the B4035 near Shipston-on-Stour in Warwickshire on Saturday (9 November).
  • A poor young muntjac discovered with his whole body trapped inside the front grille of a car in Finedon near Wellingborough in Northamptonshire on the 30 October.

All these incidents were sadly fatal. The muntjac trapped in the grille was choking and gasping for breath when the driver stopped, and both his legs were broken.

Every year around this time, deer and people are injured

Inspector Clint Davies said:

“The poor animal didn’t stand a chance. The driver heard the impact and stopped as soon as she could and called us but both his legs were broken and there was no way this poor animal could have survived.


“These sorts of accidents happen a lot at this time of year. I’ve had three similar cases already this week. Some of them are really disturbing. We have had deer with limbs dangling, lots with nasty wounds and others with blood gushing from their ears and mouth.”

Dr Ros Clubb, Senior Wildlife Scientist for the RSPCA, said:

“Every year around this time, we hear similar stories of deer and people injured or even killed in road accidents so we urge drivers to slow down, take extra care and watch out for these animals for their own sake as well as theirs.


“As days get shorter, busy traffic times coincide with dawn and the early part of the night when deer are most active and hardest to spot. In wooded areas in particular, there may be very little warning before one or several deer bolt across.”

Slow down and watch out

Typically, we receive over 50 per cent more calls about deer in road traffic accidents in October than the previous month.

The periods of highest risk are autumn and spring, particularly around dawn and dusk.

The Deer Initiative estimates that there could be up to 74,000 deer-vehicle collisions every year in the UK – around 80 per cent of which are in England.

A key to reducing the number and severity of these incidents is to get drivers to be ‘Deer Aware’ – to slow down and watch out when they see deer warning signs at the roadside.

We are encouraging the public to report any injured deer on our 24-hour cruelty and advice line, on 0300 1234 999.

Further information can be found on the National Deer-Vehicle Collisions Project website.

You can also find out more about wild deer in our wildlife section.

We can’t do it without you

To help the RSPCA carry out this vital work please donate online or text HERO to 88010 to give £3 (texts cost £3 + one standard network rate message).