Deer and Transportation Safety
Archive of news by state: Arizona, California, Idaho, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey. Ohio, Pennsylvania, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming and Canada, United Kingdom

Research Links

DeerCrash.org Reducing Deer-Vehicle Collisions through enhanced road safety practices
Reducing Deer Vehicle Crashes Information Summary from Cornell University
California Roadkill Observation System Volunteers are asked to upload roadkill incidents to a database that is mapped.
A website for mitigating the effects of roads on wildlife supported by USGS and Utah State University
Research

... a recent study published in Biological Conservation, which found the number of deer, moose, coyotes, cougars and other large wild animals killed per day on state highways in California, Idaho, Maine and Washington fell 34% between mid-March and mid-April 2020, as driving fell 71%...

... comparisons among different fence end designs and jumpout designs applied at the study sites.  The study found that the addition of wildlife fencing to certain existing isolated underpasses can be a highly cost-effective means of increasing driver safety and enhancing habitat connectivity for wildlife. After fencing installation, DVCs were reduced by 92% on average (96.5% and 88% at the box culvert and bridge underpass, respectively). Deer crossings increased 410% at the box culvert and 71% at the bridge underpass. Use of the culvert and bridge underpasses by other mammals increased 81% and 165% ...

...Previous studies reported that sound deterrents were ineffective, but this study revealed efficacy of the sound deterrent; this disparity could be due to the use of an attractant, since most studies employed food to test deterrent effectiveness. The short-term (four-week) tests demonstrated the effectiveness of the sonic device; however, long-term tests revealed that the efficacy declined with long-term usage (habituation effect). Use of the device should be limited, i.e., for no longer than one month...

Wildlife mortality on roads and railways following highway mitigationPS Gilhooly, SE Nielsen, J Whittington, CC St. Clair - Ecosphere, 2019 [PDF]
...  Our results support and extend previous work demonstrating that exclusion fencing and wildlife crossing structures reduce wildlife mortalities on the highway at this location, and provide limited evidence, for other ungulates alone, that such mitigation may increase mortality on the adjacent railway...

Effects of Hunting Activities on Deer Vehicle Collisions February 2019, Yunhe Ma, North Carolina
... an econometric analysis of the relationship between hunting activities and deer-related vehicle crashes during hunting season from year 2009 to 2016. Increases in the deer harvest increases the frequency of DVCs during hunting season. The buck population has a bigger impact on DVCs than the doe population. Harvesting deer on private lands has a smaller effect on DVC than harvesting on public hunting lands...

New study proves more wildlife-vehicle collisions occur during full moon December 1, 2017 California, Santa Cruz Sentinel
... looked through more than 77,000 reports of wildlife-vehicle collisions in New York state from 2005 to 2007... significantly more of these accidents occur during a full moon... paper ...in the journal Biodiversity and Conservation. Insurance ...

Biologist speaks on issue of deer crossings October 16, 2017 Wyoming, Cody Enterprise
... over 6,000 instances in which a deer was struck by a vehicle last year... “a pretty dramatic underestimate” due to the difficulty of collecting accurate data... About 4 percent of the total deer population is struck in any given year ...  animal bridges and tunnels reduce crashes by 80-90 percent ...

... The number of deer-vehicle collisions (DVCs) were lower when road verges contained little woody vegetation.  Landscape scale composition with high proportion of open land cover also significantly reduced DVCs.  Landscape configuration with farmland downhill and forest uphill increased DVCs.  Road verge clearance saved money and deer...

Updates from the Transportation and Wildlife Front  P Cramer, R Hamlin - Intermountain Journal of Sciences, 2017
...  The results show support for the idea that the length of wildlife crossing structures is the most important structural dimension for mule deer success. Results also show a willingness of white-tailed deer to use bridged structures that are under 5 feet high to pass beneath roads. Elk are the “problem child” of wildlife crossing structures in several places, and are very hesitant to use any structures...

Electronic Deer Warning System  December, 2016 Zhuo, Lu.  CA San Luis Obispo - 2016
... The primary means of detecting a moving vehicle is via seismic vibration. It is known that deer can hear ultrasonic tones up to 30 KHz (inaudible to humans), so the system will create these sounds with piezoelectric buzzers. The firmware was designed to be simple to understand, with helpful abstractions provided to future programmers. This is important so that researchers are not hampered by the code and understanding the system, and can instead focus on research and parsing data. Additionally, the hardware circuitry involved with data collection and power management was created to be as power-efficient as possible so that the system will require as little maintenance as possible...

Roadkill Hot Spots on California's Highways Identified in Report June 29, 2016 UC Davis
... The 2016 report from the UC Davis Road Ecology Center pinpoints stretches of highway where wildlife-vehicle conflicts are most common. It drew largely from the thousands of volunteer scientist observations submitted into the California Roadkill Observation System, which also maintains an interactive map of the last 90 days of roadkill incidents and species throughout the state...

Pronghorn and mule deer use of underpasses and overpasses along US Highway 191  H Sawyer, PA Rodgers, T Hart - Wildlife Society Bulletin, 2016 Wyoming
... Of those highway crossings, 79% of mule deer moved under, whereas 93% of pronghorn moved over the highway ... we documented a 64–306% increase in the amount of back-and-forth movement of mule deer and pronghorn across the highway during migration periods. Such movement flexibility is presumed to improve their ability to respond to changing environmental conditions by easily accessing habitats on either side of the highway....

...as hunter activity increased, the movement of white-tailed deer increased as well. The increase of activity in the woods disrupted and altered typical deer movements for the duration of the firearms season ... findings were later replicated by VerCautern and Hygnstrom (1998) ...

...  If the primary success parameter is to improve highway safety for humans by reducing collisions with large ungulates, the data suggest fence lengths of at least 5 km. While longer fence lengths do not necessarily guarantee higher wildlife use of underpasses as use varies greatly between locations, wildlife fencing can still improve wildlife use of an individual underpass...

 ... Based on strong results from the feeding exclosure trial, electrified pavement appears to have potential as an effective tool to reduce ungulate access to roadways when deployed at wider dimensions. Moreover, the material may offer a mitigation option for locations unsuitable for double cattle guards and wildlife guards, such as at end points in wildlife exclusion fencing and/or across roads with annual average daily traffic of greater than 500 vehicles...

Road and traffic factors correlated to wildlife–vehicle collisions in Galicia (Spain)  E Valero, J Picos, X Álvarez - Wildlife Research, 2016
... Our results showed that the daily traffic volume, the width of the road, the number of lanes and speed limit affect whether a particular road marker has a high or low density of WVC...  high WVC is frequently characterised by wider lanes and shoulders, as well as gentler slopes, whereas in the sections with narrower roads and a shorter curvature radius, there are some conditions (low visibility and speed reduction) that reduce the probability of having an accident with ungulates. However, the speed at which it is possible to drive on a given road section is closely related to the occurrence of WVC.  These findings emphasise the importance of including mitigation measures in the decision-making when planning and designing infrastructure...

... Highway crossing attempts by deer resulted in 7.5 DVCs per year on the 1-mile highway segments adjacent to the unfenced underpasses. The findings support the installation of fencing along the roadside adjacent to existing underpasses used by deer. After the planned fence installation, the post-mitigation monitoring study may show that this low-cost form of mitigation could have a substantial impact on drivers and wildlife, particularly if implemented on a large scale...

Study to determine if wildlife bridges, tunnels effective December 2, 2015 Arizona, Tucson News Now
... The Department of Transportation is spending an estimated $11 million for an animal overpass on State Route 77 near Catalina.  It will connect the wildlife corridor from the Catalinas to the Tortolitas.  The study will determine its value to animals and humans ...

... Study recommendations include (1) the installation of fencing along the roadside adjacent to existing large underpasses, and (2) an animal advisory message on the dynamic message signs along I-64 in the Afton Mountain area. Messages should be displayed from dusk through dawn from October through November (to correspond with periods of higher deer activity and DVCs). Fencing both sides of just one underpass is expected to result in a savings in costs associated with DVCs of $501,473 over its service life. ..

GA Drivers Be On The Lookout This Fall: Deer-Vehicle Collisions September 28, 2015 Georgia, GeorgiaWildLife.com
... Recently published in the Journal of the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, the study analyzed deer-vehicle collisions from 2005 to 2012 and then compared the timing of those wrecks with available conception data, deer movement information obtained from deer wearing GPS collars in Harris County and the old “rut map” from Georgia Outdoor News... The map can be found online and downloaded at the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ website.   “Using Deer-vehicle Collisions to Map White-Tailed Deer Breeding Activity in Georgia” can be found online [PDF] ...

... The picture-based signs did do slightly better than the word-based signs at reducing people’s speed and brake reaction times, which supports that hypothesis,” Grace said. “However, the word-based signs were still better than having no signs at all.” ... published Wednesday in the journal Nature Conservation, ...

...  "When we covered up the reflectors with a white canvas bag, basically because we just wanted to neutralize the reflectors, we found that the white canvas bag worked better than the reflectors," ... 65 percent fewer deer carcasses in the areas where they put a white cloth bag over the reflectors simply as a control for their test ...

A scrap of white cloth is found to deter deer July 15, 2015 Wyoming, Jackson Hole News&Guide
...  reflectors covered with white bags [white cotton bags] are about 65 percent more effective than reflectors with the black bags ...  Apart from crossings — overpasses and underpasses — there’s nothing 65 percent effective out there.” ...  the best predictors of collisions:  Traffic volume and the speed limit were the most important factors relating to the nature of the road ...

Effectiveness of an acoustic wildlife warning device using natural calls to reduce the risk of train collisions with animals J Babińska-Werka, D Krauze-Gryz, M Wasilewski… - … Research Part D: Transport …, 2015
... The subject of study was the effectiveness of the UOZ-1 device – which emits the natural warning calls of animals – in protecting animals living near railway tracks... With sound signals emitted, animals escaped more often (84% vs. 68%), and their reaction to an oncoming train was 20 s faster. We found no proof that animals habituated to the warning signals ...

Context-dependent effects on spatial variation in deer-vehicle collisions AP Clevenger, M Barrueto, KE Gunson, FM Caryl… - Ecosphere, 2015
... Distance to water was an important predictor of WVCs in three of the five study areas, while other variables had modest importance in only two of the five study areas. Thus, lack of generality in factors predicting WVCs may have less to do with methodological or taxonomic differences among study areas than the large-scale, biophysical context within which the data were collected ...

FENCING: A VALUABLE TOOL FOR REDUCING WILDLIFE-VEHICLE COLLISIONS AND FUNNELLING FAUNA TO CROSSING STRUCTURES  R van der Ree, JW Gagnon, DJ Smith - Handbook of Road Ecology, 2015... Fences prevent animals from accessing roads, thereby reducing the rate of wildlife-vehicle collisions (WVC). Fences also funnel animals towards crossing structures,
making them an essential component of the success of this form of mitigation. Fencing can ...

G D'Angelo, R van der Ree - Handbook of Road Ecology, 2015
... Roads present an unnatural and confusing environment for wildlife and humans alike. Wildlife reflectors and auditory deterrents aim to modify the behaviour of wildlife on or adjacent to the road. Reflectors are designed to redirect the light from oncoming vehicles ...

Hillsboro Airport Wildlife Hazard Management Plan [PDF] N Atwell, J Hilterbrand, C Kaffka, A Lauber, E Shore - 2015 Oregon
...Deer rarely find their way past the security fence and onto the airfield at HIO, and do not need to be dispersed if they are outside of the airfield security fence. If there is a need to remove deer from within the security fence, Airport staff may gently coax them to a place where they can exit the airfield or they will be lethally removed following the Port’s Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife permit...

DD Olson, JA Bissonette, PC Cramer, KD Bunnell…Utah,  - Wildlife Biology, 2015
...We found that precipitation decreased 50% and snow depth decreased 48% between winters. In response, deer used habitats that were 16% higher in elevation and that were 213% farther from roads with high traffic volumes. Consequently, crossing rates also decreased as much as 96% on roads with high traffic volumes. Reduced crossing rates were likely responsible for much of the 75% decrease in deer—vehicle collisions that occurred during the second winter....

Study focuses on migration routes in Island Park region February 8, 2015 Idaho, Rexburg Standard Journal
... The study focused primarily on moose and elk behavior and their movements across U.S. Highway 20 ... scientists recommended six of these areas for initial targeting of mitigation measures ... such as overpass and underpass structures — which allow wildlife to cross road barriers without accessing the road surface itself. In addition, associated fencing and warning systems ...

Researchers say preventing deer-vehicle collisions costly November 27, 2014 West Vigrina, charlestondailymail.com
... from 2008 to 2012, more than 68 deer were struck by vehicles between mile markers 4.3 and 16.4 on U.S. Route 19... The report outlines several mitigation techniques, including the installation of more wildlife fencing, enhanced deer crossing signs that flash yellow when deer are near the roadway, and setting lower nighttime speed limits... report can be found online at www.njrati.org/research

... Our objective was to test the sensitivity of WVC studies to underreporting using 2 species of large ungulates that experience substantial incidences of collisions but exist in different environmental settings: white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in agricultural-dominated central Illinois and moose (Alces alces) in forest-dominated western Maine, USA...  Prediction estimates for both species were also reliable until high rates of underreporting occurred (⩾75%). These findings suggest that predictive models generate reliable estimates about WVCs with large ungulates unless underreporting is severe; possibly because they occur in non-random patterns (i.e., hotspots) and variability in their environment influences is low ...


 News

How Do Animals Safely Cross a Highway? Take a Look. May 31, 2021 The New York Times
... “It felt like we finally found something that works,”  ... A wide variety of animals were using the overpass, often without hesitation. Within the first several months of her study, she documented hundreds of crossings.  There were moose, deer, black bears, mountain lions, porcupines and more...

... around one minute before a train was set to pass, a high-pitched "squeak" sound was heard around the tracks. The sound stopped as soon as the train passed by.  This is a "repellent sound" ... The number of collisions on the section where the repellent sound system has been installed is currently "zero," ...

What to do if you hit a deer while driving in Utah April 29, 2021 abc4.com
... Call 911 or contact your local police department ... there were approximately 10,000 deer-vehicle collisions in 2012 ... Numbers are estimated to have decreased due to more fences and wildlife bridges ... In 2020, there were 5,298 ...

Mule Deer Migrations and Highway Underpass Usage in California 2021, The Journal of Wildlife Management 
... Overall, our study indicated that although underpasses can provide safe passage for migratory deer decades (>40 yr) after their construction, deteriorating infrastructure such as fencing and gates can lead to wildlife mortalities on highways near underpasses ...

Wyoming Migration Initiative's Gregory Nickerson captured this image of a buck migrating through a box culvert under Interstate-80. Wyoming Game and Fish Department suggested the construction of these box culverts to assist migrating mule deer before the highway was completed in the 1970s. Today research shows that wider structures are more inviting to animals, but these box structures still help a few animals today. - April 18, 2021


... “This project will span for two miles in an area that has been identified as a critical migratory corridor for both mule deer and elk,” ... This $11.3 million project is expected to reduce those collisions by at least 80 percent.” ...

... A bill that was passed in last year’s legislative session directed the commonwealth to create a Wildlife Corridor Action Plan that identifies areas where collisions with animals are high... More than 60,000 deer-related crashes happen each year across the state ...

Muley Fanatics donates deer crossing signs to Green River February 24, 2021 Wyoming, Wyoming Tribune
... These 30”x30” signs are solar powered with LED lighting around the perimeter of the sign, with the lights continually flashing and providing for a highly visible reminder of possible deer crossing ...

Legislation to protect Virginia wildlife corridors introduced in State Senate January 19, 2021 Virginia, Augusta Free Press
... More than 60,000 deer-related crashes occur in Virginia each year ... SB 1274 builds on the successful wildlife corridor legislation passed last year that directed the state to produce a Wildlife Corridor Action Plan to identify important wildlife corridors and road crossings...

... innovative yet low-tech measure to minimize nighttime deer collisions is a rear-facing light bar mounted on the front of a vehicle. Illuminating the grill area presents a more visible looming object, reducing the “frozen in the headlights” behavior of deer. Researchers report the use of light bars reduces the likelihood of hitting a deer from 35 percent to 10 percent...

  San Antonio unveils new wildlife land bridge December 16, 2020 Texas, Inhabitat
... We’ve had some accidents between cars and deer especially ... The newly built Robert L.B. Tobin Land Bridge now connects two sections of a San Antonio park that were previously separated by a highway...

... It’s believed that more than 4,500 deer and elk-related collisions resulted in animal fatalities in 2020... Along with overpasses, bridges and culverts, areas of eight-foot-tall fencing were installed in various parts of the state to urge animals to move along the fence line towards a safe crossing area...

... The bridge's construction came after 46 deer, 14 moose, and four elk were killed on that stretch of highway in 2016 and 2017 alone... 350-foot-long bridge ...  we expected it to take several years before the animals got used to using it ...

... U.S. Highway 97 runs for nearly 670 miles through national forests, lava fields, and farmed valleys ... wildlife-vehicle collisions kill hundreds of animals each year ...  purpose-built wildlife crossings and fencing can solve this problem, and California, Oregon, and Washington have each built or are considering such features along some of the most dangerous segments of U.S. 97...

97A wildlife fence helps reduce vehicle/animal collisions September 23, 2020 Texas, Quad City Herald
... Parts of 97A between Chelan and Wenatchee have been the scene of scores of animal/vehicle accidents over the years and led to a cooperative effort between public/private group to install miles of wildlife fencing along portions of the road’s west side to help keep mule deer and bighorns away from the highway...

Highway 97 wildlife fencing project secures funding September 23, 2020 Oregon, Herald and News
... Directional fencing that will help guide deer and other animals to a newly constructed highway underpass beneath Highway 97 in northern Klamath County has been approved ... the $1 million project will be completed this fall...

  Oh, deer! Thousands of animals safely crossed Okanagan Connector last summer September 9, 2020 British Columbia, Vancouver Sun
... The number of safe crossings done by mule deer alone along Highway 97C (the Okanagan Connector between Kelowna and Aspen Grove), using 11 underpasses and one overpass between April and October last year, was more than 3,700...

First phase of Safe Passage 97 project completed with private funding September 4, 2020 Washington, Sports and Weather Right Now
... the renovation of Janis Bridge to serve as a wildlife undercrossing, deer fencing completed on either side of Highway 97 for 1 mile south of the bridge, and required gates and cattle guards installed at access roads ...

This could stop deadly Hanford crashes with wandering deer and elk August 19, 2020 Washington, Tri-City Herald
... roadside posts wrapped with white canvas bags every 50 feet... lights shine on the white bags, making the bags look to other wildlife like a fleeing white-tailed deer, a sign of danger ... A study ... showed that posts draped with white bags reduced the number of car and deer crashes by 65 percent...

New data reveals how mule deer use wildlife crossings on Hwy 97C August 16, 2020 British Columbia, Castanet
... The potential for at least 3,700 collisions between vehicles and mule deer were avoided on the Okanagan Connector last year, according to new data from the Ministry of Transportation... the province has compiled a year's worth of data collected at 11 wildlife crossings ...

Preventing Animal-Vehicle Crashes using a Smart Detection Technology and Warning System C Druta, AS Alden - Transportation Research Record, 2020, Virginia
... buried cable animal detection system (BCADS) to provide roadside or in-vehicle warnings to approaching drivers based on the active presence of an animal ... approximately 80% of drivers either braked or slowed in response, indicating that the sign was effective. A 75% reduction in deer-vehicle crashes was observed in the first year after system deployment...

... Road-crossing behavior was influenced heavily by proximity to concealing cover; deer only crossed when the nearest cover was located on the opposite side of the road. We contend that frontal vehicle illumination via rearfacing lighting has potential to greatly reduce vehicle collisions with deer and other species...

... Oregon Department of Transportation says the underpasses have reduced wildlife-vehicle crashes by 95 percent along the highway... The Oregon Hunter's Association and the Oregon Fish & Wildlife Foundation have put up nearly $500,000 to provide fences...

Collaborative effort to reduce costly collisions July 29, 2020 Wyoming, Buffalo Bulletin
... In any given year, vehicle collisions can kill up to 4% of Wyoming’s total mule deer population. Local mulies are already struggling... commissioners expressed support for work on all three of the wildlife crossing projects presented ...

... During experiments with free-roaming white-tailed deer, researchers at the Wildlife Services program’s National Wildlife Research Center (NWRC) found the use of a rear-facing light-emitting diode (LED) light bar resulted in fewer dangerous deer-vehicle interactions...The light bar illuminates a larger portion of the vehicle’s front surface than standard headlights alone ...

Roadkill Reduced During Lockdowns, but Traffic is Increasing Again July 1, 2020 Smithsonian
... The study by UC Davis compared this year’s reported roadkill rates to around the same time of year in 2015 through 2019 ... Most animals killed by cars are deer and elk... in Maine, which had the highest daily roadkill rate of more than 15 animals per day on average, the stay-at-home order reduced roadkill by 45 percent...

... We are starting to see an increasing number of reports from Tesla owners about Autopilot doing some really aggressive maneuvers to avoid crashes.  In this new example, a Tesla owner shares a video of Autopilot swerving to avoid a deer at the last second... 

An interview with Cidney Bowman about the U.S. 97 passing lanes project in Klamath County which includes a wildlife undercrossing to assist deer and other wildlife migration. - June 24, 2020 Oregon


... The Coquihalla Highway sees around 160 wildlife crashes each year, 75 per cent of which involve deer. The new fencing  ... will redirect animals to existing wildlife underpasses...

... shows that Interstate 80 is an almost impenetrable obstacle to movement of pronghorn, mule deer and elk. The highway has severed or truncated migration corridors originating as much as 150 miles away...

... StradVision, an AI-based camera perception system, has announced it is developing animal detection capabilities for its SVNet software, which is used in advanced driver assist systems as well as autonomous vehicles. StradVision CEO Junhwan Kim said in a statement that the new software will "almost completely end" collisions between animals and vehicles...

Wyoming Game And Fish Unveils New Wildlife Crossing Initiative February 21, 2020 Wyoming Public Media
... There are an estimated 6,000 big game animals killed by vehicle collisions each year in the state... Wildlife Crossings: Keeping Wildlife and Drivers on the Go... legislators two years ago that allow you to purchase a license plate where the majority of the funds go to this initiative and go to future projects that will benefit wildlife and roadways...

... Utilizing now-affordable tracking collars, wildlife researchers have learned that deer and other animals that dart into the road are driven by an ancient instinct to follow migratory paths in existence long before automobiles were introduced...

... Utah made history when it completed the first wildlife overpass in the U.S. in 1975 on I-15 near Beaver. Since then, around 50 wildlife crossings have been installed throughout the state... Around 6,300 deer and elk were confirmed to be killed in vehicle collisions in 2019 ... “Deer typically follow the same migration routes every year,” ...

More Transportation and Deer News from:  20192018,  2017201620152013 and 2014, 2011 and 2012



The Video Below is Graphic Evidence of the Horror of Deer Vehicle Collisions.  

WARNING, GRAPHIC VIDEO: Deer Busted Up by Vehicle Collision - March 24, 2013