Drivers and dog walkers have been warned to steer clear of randy deer in Epping Forest as mating season begins.

Deer in the forest have now entered what is known as rutting season and males will become highly aggressive as they attempt to fight off rivals to attract female deer.

Epping Forest Council has warned residents this will make the animals less aware of dangers around them, such as cars and bikes on roads.

Sam Kane, council portfolio holder for safer, greener and transport, said: “Accidents on the roads involving deer increase at this time of year and motorists should take extra care when driving though the forest and rural parts of the district.

“The rutting season has begun and goes on until late November. Deer are particularly active at dawn and dusk.

“Unfortunately this coincides with commuting hours which are often the busiest times of the day on our roads.”

Dog walkers have also been advised to keep their pets on a lead while walking in the forest and to keep their distance from any deer, which may act unpredictably if they feel threatened.

Cllr Kane added: “Deer are pack animals and often move in groups, if you see one, others are likely to follow.

“They can appear without warning and present a greater risk than other wildlife because of their large size.

“Whether you’re driving in our district or walking in our beautiful forest, I want everyone to complete their journey safely and without incident.”

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