Drivers have been urged to take care of deer on the roads.

This time of year rutting season, when deer engage in fierce mating battles.

Rutting activity is most intense soon after dawn and before dusk, though some activity occurs throughout the day.

Cllr Holly Whitbread, cabinet member for housing and community, said: “Epping Forest has a large deer population and sadly, the mortality rate for deer is still rising on the very busy forest roads and we urge motorists to take extra care when driving though the Epping Forest district during the rutting season.”

Males, which are known as bucks, grow new antlers every year and around the time they lose them they claim a patch of ground as a rutting stand and advertise their presence with loud guttural bellows, attracting the female of the species known as does. The bucks fight off any rivals, often with tremendous battles of clashing antlers.

Epping Forest’s deer population is made up of dark fallow deer – thought to have been introduced to the forest from Scandinavia by King James I – and Muntjac, a small Asian deer introduced by the 11th Duke of Bedford to his Woburn estate at the turn of the century. Escapees successfully bred and can be found throughout the Epping Forest district.

A Deer Sanctuary to the south west of Theydon Bois, provides safe grazing for a herd of just over 100 dark fallow deer. It is not open the public.

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