Bag Your Deer In The Hunt, Not In Your Vehicle
You might be getting excited about getting your “extra” hour of sleep when we “fall back” to standard time on November 6th, but with the time change other factors come in to play that deserve our attention.
One of the biggest factors that could could really lead to a bad day is that this is also the time of year when there is an increase in wildlife along Utah roadways. With us soon to be doing our commutes during lower visibility hours this brings an increase in the chance of a vehicle / wildlife collision. This is the time of year when big game migrates to lower elevations in search of food. The typical migration period for deer is in April and May with another migration period during October and November. These periods are when the highest numbers of deer / vehicle collisions occur in Utah. In a press release, Blair Stringham, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources Migration Initiative Coordinator said, “the peak time to hit deer in Utah is November. It coincides with mating season and the annual migration of deer.”
There were approximately 10,000 deer / vehicle collisions in 2012, but those numbers have likely decreased as more fences and wildlife bridges have been installed along migration routes across Utah highways. So far this year, 4,000 deer / vehicle collisions have been reported. Deer are more active during on the early morning and the evening, which coincides with commuting times.
If you see an animal on or near the road, the DWR has theses suggestions for you:
- Do not swerve for deer and small animals. Stay in your lane and slow down.
- If several animals are standing in the road, do not try to drive through them or get out of the vehicle to chase or herd them. Honk your horn and flash your lights to encourage them to move on.
- If an animal has crossed the road, continue to drive slowly and be cautious because it may try to cross again.
If you do hit an animal, pull of the road and use your emergency flashers if you vehicle is disabled, do not approach the the injured animal and call 911 or the local police department if you are injured or if the animal is in the highway posing a threat to public safety.
You can get more tips on how to avoid wildlife collisions from the website Wild Aware Utah.