Oregon wildlife and transportation officials are reminding drivers that it’s migration season for elk and deer. That leads to increased reports of vehicle collisions in October and November because the animals are more likely to cross the roads.
Fewer daylight hours and rainy weather, reducing driver visibility, don’t help.
The Oregon Department of Transportation says its crews collect about 6,000 deer carcasses each year after deer are struck and killed by vehicles. That doesn’t include the ones who are able to walk away from the scene and die or that die on city, county and private roads.
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife says research with GPS-collars shows mule deer will follow their migratory route no matter how many roads or other obstacles get put in the way.
Here are some tips from ODOT and ODFW to avoid wildlife collisions:
- Animal crossings signs are placed in known crossing hotspots. Be on the lookout when you see one.
- Be alert in areas with dense vegetation along the road or while going around curves. Wildlife near the road may be hard to see.
- If you see one animal, stay alert because others are likely nearby.
- If you see an animal on or near the road, slow down and stay in your lane. Many serious crashes are the result of drivers losing control when they swerve.
- Always wear your seat belt. Even a minor collision could result in serious injuries.
- This is also the time of year when the most road killed deer and elk are salvaged for meat. If you hit a deer or elk (or see one that is struck) don’t forget, you must fill out a free permit and turn the head in within five days so ODFW can test for Chronic Wasting Disease. More info can be found here.
The state has added wildlife undercrossings in an effort to give animals as safe way get across highways. One was built last year under Highway 97 at Vandevert Road near Sunriver.