Education & Safety


this photo shows a male deer standing in front of deer crossing traffic sign next to a road. There are cars on the road and the male deer is looking across the road.

A male deer stands at the side of the road near a deer crossing traffic sign.

The City is aware of a greater potential for crashes involving deer on Staten Island and in the Bronx. We are taking steps to ensure awareness about potential conflicts between drivers and wildlife.

Understand Wildlife Habits

  • Activity peaks in the autumn breeding season, but deer can be a safety hazard on the road all year long.
  • Use caution when driving at dawn or dusk, when deer are most active.
  • Deer travel in family groups, and seeing one animal could mean others will follow.
  • Deer do unpredictable things — they may stop in the middle of the road, cross back and forth quickly, or move toward approaching vehicles.

Take Preventative Action

  • The most important thing you can do to avoid a collision with wildlife is to slow down. Drive the posted speed limit, and even slower in areas with known deer populations.
  • Scan the road and shoulders ahead. Look for reflections, shadows, and movements that indicate wildlife activity.
  • Use your headlights to improve visibility.
  • Always wear a seat belt to minimize injury should a collision occur and avoid distracted, drowsy, or impaired driving.

How to React

  • If a deer runs in front of your vehicle, brake firmly but do not swerve. Swerving can take a motorist into oncoming traffic or off the road.
  • Call 911 in the event of a collision.
  • If you strike a deer, do not touch or get close to it. The animal may be injured and could behave frantically, causing further safety risks.


In November 2015, the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) began implementation of a deer corridor signage program. Permanent signage is one countermeasure used to raise awareness and prevent deer – vehicle collisions. Mobile variable message boards are also deployed as needed.

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Parents and Kids

this photo shows a female deer and her fawn with a forest background behind them. The mother is smelling the fawn and the fawn is looking in to the

A female white-tailed deer and her fawn

Seeing a white-tailed deer, a coyote, or an eagle for the first time can be an exhilarating experience, as well as an educational opportunity. When enjoying nature with your family, remember to do so responsibly.

  • Always maintain a safe distance between yourself and wildlife. Use binoculars or cameras to heighten the enjoyment.
  • Never feed wildlife or encourage them to approach you.
  • If you see an injured animal, the best thing to do is leave the animal where it is, give it some distance, and call 311.
  • The more information you can provide to 311, the better.
  • Please remember that young animals often look as if they have been abandoned, when in fact their parents are nearby.
  • Connecting your family with nature improves physical and mental health, encourages exploration and creativity, and is the perfect way to create fun family memories.

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This photo shows a male deer hopping over a high wooden fence in to a yard. The area surrounding the fence is covered in plants and above the fence you can see two trees and a clothesline.

A male deer hopping over a non-deer resistant fence.

White-tailed deer are herbivores, which means they eat plants. Sometimes, the plants in a homeowner's garden are more appealing to deer than the plants in nearby natural areas.

Deer Resistant Plants

There are no plant species that are truly deer-proof. If white-tailed deer are hungry enough they will eat almost anything, even the bark from trees. While plant damage cannot be totally prevented, deer do develop preferences and will ignore many types of plants in their normal grazing patterns. Sometimes browsing by deer will only occur as fresh new growth appears on plants and the same plants will then be ignored for the rest of the season. Planting with a high diversity of plant species will minimize the impact that any browse will have on your overall garden design. Many ferns and grasses are rarely damaged by deer, and strong scented perennials are often a deterrent. There are many types of resistant plants available. The recommendations below are attractive and have the added benefit of being native to the region so they contribute to the health of beneficial native wildlife, like pollinators.

  • Highbush Blueberry (vaccinum corymbosum)
  • Redosier Dogwood (cornus sericea)
  • Virginia Pine (pinus virginiana)
  • Swamp Rose (rosa palustris)
  • Hay-scented Fern (dennstaedtia punctilobula)
  • Black-Eyed Susan (rudbeckia hirta)
  • Blue-Eyed Grass (sisyrinchium angustifolium)
  • Wild Geranium (geranium maculatum)
  • Common Milkweed (asclepias syriaca)

Deer Fencing

In areas with high deer numbers, it may be desirable for a homeowner to protect their vegetation with deer fencing. While it is often recommended that fencing should be at least 8' tall to exclude deer, current NYC zoning prohibits fences over 6'. A solid fence at least 5' tall should be effective, as deer rarely jump if they cannot see their landing zone. To protect individual groups of plants, fencing should be at least 5' tall and far enough from the plants to prevent deer from accessing them. There are a variety of designs and materials, and a local fence contractor may be able to help with selecting the proper fence for your property.

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Pet Owners

this photo shows a close up of a tick on the skin of a dog. The fur on the dog is white and the photo is framed with a close up of human hands pulling the fur back to show the tick.

A tick that has bitten a dog.

Your companion animals are more likely to be interested in deer than vice versa, but it's better for all that they keep their distance from one another. Deer are extremely large, strong animals and can severely hurt or kill a pet if attempting to defend themselves. Additionally, an animal allowed to chase deer may end up running into traffic, not only putting the animals in danger but potentially people as well.

Unlike raccoons or bats, deer are not a rabies vector species; chances are low that they'd carry and transmit rabies. Still, it's vitally important and also required by law that your pet be vaccinated against this disease. Learn more about protecting your pet from rabies.

Follow these additional steps for all members of your family – four-legged and two-legged alike – to co-exist peacefully with deer:

  • Make sure any pet that goes outside is protected by high-quality tick and flea medication. There are both oral and topical treatments for ticks and/or fleas, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. Speak with your vet to decide which one is best for your pet. There is a Lyme disease vaccine available for dogs, though it is not recommended for all dogs and should be discussed with a veterinarian. Learn more about ticks.
  • Always check your pet for ticks after a walk in the woods or any park with considerable vegetation such as grass, shrubs, etc. See the Humane Society of the United States' tips on checking for and removing ticks from dogs.
  • Keep dogs leashed when outside, unless you are in a designated off-leash space.
  • Ensure your pet has proper identification in case he or she becomes lost chasing deer. It's very important that pets have microchips and/or ID tags. And NYC law requires your dog to have a dog license, worn around his or her neck whenever outside. Licenses, like microchips and ID tags, help reunite lost pets with their families.
    Visit NYC's online dog licensing system to apply for a license or renew an existing one.
  • Keep pets away from any injured or deceased deer as well as live animals. Carcasses can transmit disease.
  • Do not leave pet food outside, as it may attract deer or other wildlife.

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Outdoor Enthusiasts

this photo shows two people in a canoe rowing down a river. The river is calm and either side of the river is full of trees and foliage. The sun is shining bright and the canoe is heading down the river from right to left with the river disappearing on the left side of the photo

New Yorkers canoeing down the Bronx River in a city park, where run ins with wildlife are common

New York City has hundreds of acres of woods and natural areas, perfect for hiking, biking, kayaking and other outdoor activities. Before you begin your next outdoor adventure, be prepared to show respect for any wildlife you may encounter. Familiarize yourself with park rules and regulations, which are listed on signs at park entrances and online at A few simple guidelines:

  • Do not disturb, feed, or remove any wildlife from the park.
  • Pack binoculars or a camera to enjoy wildlife from a distance.
  • Be considerate of wildlife and other hikers by keeping our parks clean and taking your trash with you when you leave.
  • Use insect repellent to protect yourself from mosquitos and ticks, and be sure to check yourself thoroughly for ticks after your hike.
  • Answer the call of the wild and discover the amazing wildlife that call New York City home.

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