With the clocks having now turned back, drivers across Ayrshire are being advised to look out for deer crossing South West Scotland’s roads, as the evenings draw in.

The deer rutting season is at its peak and Scotland TranServ has identified the A77 between Ayr and Kilmarnock and the A78 Three Towns’ Bypass as potential local hotspots for deer strikes.

Isla Davidson, Scotland TranServ’s Senior Environmental Specialist, said: “Deer are often more mobile at two particular times each year: In May and June young deer disperse from breeding grounds to search for new territory of their own. Meanwhile, October and November is the rutting season for the larger deer species (red deer, fallow and sika), when adult males challenge each other for breeding rights.

“Deer are particularly active around sunrise and sunset which, at this time of year, coincides with the peak commuter time when there are likely to be more vehicles on the road. Their darker winter coats make deer particularly difficult to spot, so please be extra vigilant as they can appear without warning out of the fields and woodland.”

Figures from the National Deer-Vehicle Collisions project suggest that while it is safe to say 40,000 deer are killed in vehicle strikes every year, due to under-reporting this figure could be as high as 70,000 across Britain as a whole.

At the same time, conservative estimates of 400 injuries to vehicle passengers related to these collisions could well be nearer 1,000 annually.

Tommy Docherty, of Scotland TranServ, added: “Our teams are particularly busy at this time of year, tackling the aftermath of deer collisions; not only dealing with the loss of life of this beautiful animal, but the damage to cars and injuries to drivers and passengers.”