NEWS

Wildlife-vehicle collisions increase with cold, snowy weather

The cold, snowy weather that has occurred since early December in parts of Wyoming has increased the incidence of wildlife-vehicle collisions.

1/23/2017 12:28:04 PM

Cheyenne - The cold, snowy weather that has occurred since early December in parts of Wyoming has increased the incidence of wildlife-vehicle collisions. Deep snow has altered daily travel patterns for deer, elk and antelope, and the Wyoming Game and Fish Department urges motorists to stay alert for wildlife on the road.

“Animals trying to conserve energy are traveling in areas that require the least amount of effort.  Many times, this means animals are using roadways plowed free of snow to travel to and from cover and feeding areas,” said Doug Brimeyer, Game and Fish deputy chief of the Wildlife Division. “In other areas, the deep snow has caused the animals to concentrate their roadway crossings into a small area.”

Heavy snow conditions can create barriers for animals who enter a roadway. As the snow is plowed from the road surface it gets wind-rowed along the road edges. Over time, the wind-rows of snow grow in size as the roads are repeatedly plowed.  For animals that are using the road surface for an easy travel lane, or have randomly found their way onto the road surface, these snow wind-rows can create a barrier preventing a quick escape when a vehicle approaches the animals.   

Wildlife-vehicle collisions can occur on all types of roadways, from Interstate Highways to city streets. Motorists are urged to use caution to prevent wildlife-vehicle collisions when traveling the highways and byways of Wyoming during the winter months. Snow and ice covered roadways not only make it more difficult for wildlife but, also increase the braking distance for vehicles.  

“Reducing vehicle speed in area frequented by wildlife is one of the most effective ways for motorists to prevent colliding with wildlife,” said Brimeyer.  

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Map: This is a map of the highest-occurring areas of deer-vehicle collisons. However, wildlife accidents occur all over the state. 

 

(Wyoming Game and Fish (307) 777-4600)

- WGFD -


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