Wyoming Game and Fish Wardens Report Rise in Wildlife & Vehicle Collisions
The Wyoming Game and Fish Department Wardens from Lander, Riverton, and Dubois have reported that they are receiving a rise in the amount of calls they are getting regarding wildlife and vehicle collisions on Wyoming highways.
"It is that time of year again when deer are moving around and bucks are in the rut," said Lander Game Warden Brady Frude. "Big game animals are paying less attention to vehicle traffic and more attention to their biology. They are most active at dawn and dusk and of course, with shorter daylight hours, this now coincides with high levels of commuting traffic. All these factors lead to significant increases in deer/vehicle collisions along our roads."
As fall turns to winter, numerous animals are leaving their higher-elevation levels to prepare for the oncoming season. Because of this, they are traveling more than usual, and are crossing highways at a higher rate. They are also not as focused on their surroundings, because they're focusing on forage and getting to their next destination.
This puts them in direct conflict with motorists, especially along certain Wyoming highways. The Game and Fish Wardens urge drivers to continually pay attention while they are driving and to pay attention to roadside surroundings. In fact, the Game and Fish Department has released an series of tips to prevent wildlife collisions:
- Slow down.
- Expect wildlife and scan the sides of the roads.
- Use headlights and stay alert while driving at dusk, dawn and at night.
- If you see one elk, deer, or antelope by the road, expect there to be more nearby.
- If an animal is on the road, expect the unexpected. They do not instinctively know how to react to your car.
- If you encounter an animal crossing the road, switch your headlights to low beam so that they are not blinded and can move out of your way.
- Give the animal time and room to move off the road. Do not try to outrun it.
- If you see a wildlife-crossing sign, pay attention. It is there for a reason.
- Do not swerve to miss an animal. Steer toward the animal's hindquarters, as they most often will move forward.
The Game and Fish Department reports that, nationwide, more than 150 people are killed in animal/vehicle collisions each year and more than 29,000 people are injured. They also state that areas in Fremont County attest to some of the highest numbers of collisions each year.
"Please drive safely to and from your destinations, slow down, and as always, give wildlife a break," said South Riverton Game Warden Mitch Renteria. "With the deer rut in full swing, deer are less aware of their surroundings and more visible around roadways as they prepare for the long winter."
The Game and Fish Department will be presenting a Zoom Public Meeting on December 8th at 6 p.m. regarding this subject. Participants must pre-register and will be emailed a link to the meeting. For more information, visit the Wyoming Game and Fish website.