VANCOUVER – B.C.'s transportation ministry is warning drivers to be extra cautious on highways this month, as deer-vehicle collisions are more likely.

The reason, the ministry says, is because it's mating season. 

Known as "the rut," or "rutting season," this time of year sees male deer showing an increased interest in femal deer, the ministry says. Male deer are also more aggressive towards each other at this time.

Rutting season peaks in November, the ministry says. 

"To secure the object of their affection, bucks will often challenge and fight other males – often with no regard to their surroundings," a statement on the ministry's website says. 

"Deer-vehicle collisions can cause serious injuries and loss of life. When the rut is on, all bets are off and travellers on B.C. highways need to pay extra attention."

During the rut, deer tend to be most active at night. Even so, deer still might run in front of vehicles at any time without warning. 

To avoid deer-vehicle collisions, the transportation ministry recommends keeping a careful watch for deer at dawn and dusk, especially near wooded areas, green spaces and water sources. 

Deer crossing signs are placed in areas with high numbers of deer-vehicle collisions, so drivers should adjust their speed accordingly in those places.

Headlights and windshields should be in good, clean condition and drivers should use high beams when possible to scan the road ahead. Seatbelts should always be worn. 

Don't swerve to avoid hitting a deer, the transportation ministry advises, as this could cause collisions with other vehicles. 

Finally, drivers who spot a deer should honk their horn with one long blast to frighten large animals from the vehicle. 

According to ICBC, there are about 9,900 crashes involving animals each year in B.C. Anyone who encounters a dead or injured animal on the road should contact local RCMP or the Conservation Officer Service at 1-877-952-7277.