Old Man Winter seems to have woken up a little early this season, changing some wildlife movement patterns across the region. In the Preston area, elk have been observed traveling throughout the valley with large herds crossing our local highways. This is a potentially dangerous situation, especially for motorists driving at night.
Idaho Transportation Department and Idaho Fish and Game have teamed up, for years now, in an effort to effectively sign the roads at locations with the highest potential for elk crossings. Of course, elk, deer, and all other wildlife don’t know how to read and will continue to cross roads when and where they please. This means you need to drive a little more cautiously this winter season and just assume there will be wildlife on the road.
Keep the following driving tips in mind to help avoid collisions with wildlife.
- Though animals will cross roadways almost anytime during the day or night, be extra cautious when driving during morning and evening hours when animals are most active.
- Drive slower in those areas you know are hotspots for animal crossings.
- Pay attention to wildlife crossing signs and electronic reader boards. They are there for a reason!
- Where you see one deer or elk, there are likely others! Don’t forget to watch for stragglers that jump out at the last minute. Animals stopping in the road or even looking back as they cross is often a sign that other animals are close behind.
- When slowing down to avoid wildlife on or near the road, use your flashers to warn other motorists of your decreased speed and potential dangers of crossing animals.
- If you are a homeowner, help keep motorists safe by not feeding deer or other big game. Animals will cross the road to get to the food you leave, putting themselves and motorists at risk.
- Please report roadkill online via Idaho Fish and Game’s webpage https://idfg.idaho.gov/species/roadkill. Reporting roadkill gives Fish and Game and the Idaho Transportation Department information to help prevent wildlife losses and make highways safer. Note that some roadkill can be salvaged, including deer and elk. Use the same webpage to find out which species are salvageable and the mandatory reporting requirements to follow.
Please be careful out there!