Transportation and Deer Research from 2014 and Earlier

Vehicle Collisions Cause Differential Age and Sex-Specific Mortality in Mule Deer [PDF] DD Olson, JA Bissonette, PC Cramer, KD Bunnell… - Advances in Ecology, 2014 Utah

... We found that 65% of mule deer involved in vehicle collisions were female; of those, 40% were adult does ≥2 yrs. When we compared the proportion of bucks, does, and fawns killed in vehicle collisions to surveys of live deer, we found that bucks were killed at rate of 2.1–3.0 times their proportion in the population. Additionally, when we compared vehicle collision rates for 2010 and 2011, we found that mule deer were 7.4–8.7 times more likely to be involved in collisions than elk and 1.2–2.0 times more likely than moose. However, we were unable to detect a negative correlation (𝑃 = 0.55) between mule deer abundance and increasing traffic volume...

Hotspots, underreporting, and dynamic space-time influences of wildlife-vehicle collisions NP Snow - 2014

... large hotspots associated with suburban landscapes account for the highest frequencies of collisions, therefore these locations should be targeted for mitigation. Identifying the most critical locations to mitigate can be accomplished with relatively few reports of collisions if collected in a consistent manner. Managers should consider investing in long-term mitigation strategies (i.e., underpasses) to reduce WVCs for many years, because the ecological drivers of hotspots do not appear to change.

Targeting mitigation efforts: The role of speed limit and road edge clearance for deer–vehicle collisions EL Meisingset, LE Loe, Ø Brekkum, A Mysterud - The Journal of Wildlife Management, 2014

... The relative risk for DVCs increased with speed limit. We found a higher risk for DVCs during winter compared to the other seasons. Forest cover, distance to pasture, and terrain ruggedness substantially affected risk of DVCs. Road edge clearance reduced the frequency of DVCs, but the effect appeared in the winter season only with a decrease of 53%. Our study highlights that speed limit reduction and road edge clearance are both powerful mitigation tools to reduce the number of DVCs....

Comparative Analysis of Three Different Methods for Monitoring the Use of Green Bridges by Wildlife G Gužvica, I Bošnjak, A Bielen, D Babić… - PLOS ONE, 2014

... We compared the species composition determined by track-pad and camera trap methods and found that monitoring by tracks underestimated the ratio of small canids, while camera traps underestimated the ratio of roe deer. Regarding total number of recorder events, active IR detectors recorded from 11 to 19 times more events then camera traps and app. 80% of them were not caused by animal crossings. Camera trap method underestimated the real number of total events...

Factors affecting autumn deer–vehicle collisions in a rural Virginia county William J. McShea, Chad M. Stewart, Laura J. Kearns, Stefano Liccioli, David Kocka (2008) Human–Wildlife Interactions. Vol. 1, No. 1

Abstract: Vehicular collisions with white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) are a safety and economic hazard to motorists. Many efforts to reduce deer–vehicle collisions (DVCs) have proven unsuccessful, but deer reduction has been a primary management tool in several states. The Virginia Department of Transportation geo-located all known DVCs in Clarke County, Virginia, from August through December 2005 (n = 246) and 2006 (n = 259). We estimated harvest intensity, deer population density, amount of forest and housing development, presence of row crops, and traffi c volume and speed for 228 road segments (each 500 m in length) within the county to determine which factors are correlated with increased DVCs. A step-wise general linear model indicated that deer density (range 5–47 deer/km2), and deer harvest levels (range 1–18 deer/km2 for 9-km2blocks) were not correlated with the location of DVCs. Road attributes (traffic volume and road type) and the amount of housing development were important attributes of road segments when predicting DVCs. The locations of DVCs during the rut were not markedly different from collisions outside the rut. Over the range of deer densities and harvest levels found in this rural county, there was little evidence that these factors influence the number of DVCs. Management efforts should include changing motorist behavior or road attributes.

Influence of landscape features on spatial genetic structure of white‐tailed deer in human‐altered landscapes A Locher, KT Scribner, JA Moore, B Murphy, J Kanefsky - … of Wildlife Management, 2014 Michigan

... Predictive relationships between estimates of functional population connectivity and physical and biotic landscape features can provide important insights into present and future population responses to human-mediated landscape change ... We identified features in the landscape matrix between groups including rivers, high traffic roads, and habitats of intermediate HSI as inhibiting gene flow. Low HSI was associated with low between-group Fst and appeared to facilitate gene flow. Quantification of the relative importance of man-made barriers (roads) and habitat suitability to SGS for white-tailed deer emphasizes the importance of joint use of ecological and genetic analyses in conservation and control efforts for abundant and mobile wildlife species.

Spatial and temporal relationships between deer harvest and deer–vehicle collisions at Oak Ridge Reservation, Tennessee June 5, 2014 Wildlife Society Bulletin, Wiley Online Library

... Deer harvest was implemented at Oak Ridge Reservation, Tennessee (ORR) in 1985 to reduce DVCs... Harvest in the previous year was positively related to DVCs, likely reflecting higher hunter success with higher deer density. Higher traffic volume and speed were positively related to DVCs. There was no effect of moon phase for all records combined; however, analysis by season and gender showed a positive relationship to collisions for male deer during the gestation period (1 Jan–14 May), which may have been associated with dispersal....

Table 2. Effectiveness, benefit, and ranking of mitigation measures (see the Report to Congress)

Wildlife-Vehicle Collision Mitigation for Safer Wildlife Movement across Highways: State Route 260 Arizona, National Technical Information Service NL Dodd, JW Gagnon, S Boe, K Ogren… - 2012

Researchers investigated wildlife-highway relationships in central Arizona from 2002 to 2008 along a 17-mile stretch of State Route (SR) 260, which is being reconstructed in 5 phases and will have 11 wildlife underpasses and 6 bridges. Phased reconstruction allowed researchers to use a before-after-control experimental approach to their research. The objectives of the project were to: assess and compare wildlife use of underpasses (UPs); evaluate highway permeability and wildlife movements among reconstruction classes; characterize wildlife-vehicle collision (WVC) patterns and changes with reconstruction; assess relationships among traffic volume and WVCs, wildlife crossing patterns, and UP use; and assess the role of ungulate-proof fencing with WVCs, wildlife UP use, and wildlife permeability. Researchers used video surveillance to assess and compare wildlife use of 6 UPs, at which 15,134 animals and 11 species were recorded; 67.5% crossed through UPs. Modeling found that UP structure type and placement was the most important factor influencing the probability of successful crossings by elk (Cervus elaphus) and Coues whitetailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus). Researchers used Global Positioning System (GPS) telemetry tracking of 100 elk and 13 white-tailed deer to assess and compare permeability. Elk permeability on reconstructed sections was 39% lower than controls, while deer permeability was 433% higher on reconstructed sections. The elk-vehicle collision (EVC) rate on fenced reconstructed sections was the same as before-reconstruction levels, but on unfenced sections the EVC rate was nearly 4 times higher. In addition to a safer and more environmentally friendly highway, the economic benefit from reduced EVCs on SR 260 averaged $2 million/year since the completion of 3 reconstructed highway sections.


AND FACTORS INFLUENCING THEIR EFFECTIVENESS August, 2005, Virginia Transportation Research Council

Remote cameras installed at seven underpass sites in Virginia have recorded more than 2,700 wildlife photographs and documented 1,107 white-tailed deer crossings in the most heavily used structures. Underpasses with a minimum height of 12 ft were successful at facilitating deer passage. Such structures were also heavily used by a variety of wildlife species, including coyote, red fox, raccoon, groundhog, and opossum. Structures with drainages that mimic natural waterways can encourage use by a diversity of terrestrial, semi-aquatic, and aquatic species.

This report provides guidance in choosing cost-effective underpass design and location features that are necessary to consider to increase motorist safety and habitat connectivity. The findings also demonstrate that if only a minimal number of deer-vehicle collisions is prevented by an effective underpass, the savings in property damage alone can outweigh the construction costs of the structure.

"Predicting Risk of Deer-Vehicle Collisions Using a Social Media-Based Geographic Information System" G. Kent Webb (2012) Issues in Information Systems, Volume 13, Issue 2. pp. 170-181.

This study describes some of the contradictory results in the literature resulting from data problems and concludes that a study of deer-vehicle collisions in the San Francisco Bay Area supports the theme in the literature

An evaluation of a mitigation strategy for deer-vehicle collisions, Utah, Wildlife Biology, 2012, John A. Bissonette & Silvia Rosa

John A. Bissonette & Silvia Rosa

High mule deer Odocoileus hemionus mortality in southwestern Utah led to the establishment of a mitigation strategy with two major objectives: 1) reduction of wildlife-vehicle collisions and 2) restoration of landscape connectivity to facilitate wildlife movement across the roaded landscape. During our study, we assessed the effectiveness of the mitigation measures in reducing mule deer mortality in the following ways: 1) we compared the number of deer-vehicle collisions in the newly fenced area with a control area without fencing; 2) we analyzed the ‘end-of-the-fence’ problem, defined here as increased mortality of mule deer at the ends of the 2.4-m high exclusion fences; and 3) we evaluated the frequency of animal crossings of the new underpasses using remotely-sensed cameras and compared them with crossing frequency rates for a 20-year-old control underpass. We compared six years of pre-construction mortality (during 1998-2003) with two years of post-construction data on mortality (during 2005-2006) and found a 98.5% decline in deer mortalities in the treatment (i.e. fenced, jump-outs and underpasses) vs a 2.9% decline in the control (i.e. no fences, no jump-outs and no underpasses). We detected no end-of-the-fence problems related to deer mortality. Migratory movements during fall and spring were clearly reflected in the use of underpass. Overall results demonstrated that the mitigation strategy was effective and reduced the number of deer-vehicle accidents, while allowing wildlife movement across the landscape.

Deer Deter In a joint venture with IPTE, JAFA Technologies is the exclusive distributor of the Wildlife Crossing Guard in North America. This innovative new device is designed to reduce, with the ultimate goal of eliminating, deer-vehicle collisions as a result of night-time road crossings. Installed at intervals of 50 to 100 yards, activation occurs when headlights approach the unit during the time period from dusk to dawn when the vast majority of animal-vehicle collisions occur. When activated, the unit emits a sound that is meant to simulate that of a predator or a cry of fear. The sound is supplemented by a small strobe type light that is meant to represent reflection of movement from the predator’s eyes.

Epping Forest to begin work on reducing deer collisions February 1, 2011 England BBC News Shrubs alongside two roads through Epping Forest are to be cleared in an effort to reduce the number of collisions between cars and deer. ...It will involve removing plants and debris along the verge of the B1393 and the B181, in order to improve the visibility for both drivers and deer.

Road Deaths May Be the No. 1 Threat to US Wildlife April 25, 2011 Transportation NatGeo News Watch (blog)

White-tailed deer roadkill fills the back of a pickup truck, Pennsylvania. (NGS stock photo by William Albert Allard) Automobile accidents constantly remind us of just how dangerous our roadways can be. With nearly 200 million motor vehicles taking to .

Maryland aims to curb wildlife carnage on roads ) (deer collisions cost about $300 per pound of deer hit; smaller deer mean less damage) January 2, 2011 Baltimore Sun Deer hoofprints and tracks of raccoons and other small animals traverse the soft dirt floor of an oversized stream culvert under an almost completed stretch ... At least one fatality and more than 200 injuries to people occur each year in animal-vehicle crashes in the state. Danger is at its peak in November, when deer are breeding, but collisions occur year-round.

[PDF] Cost–benefit analyses of mitigation measures aimed at reducing collisions with large ungulates in the United States and Canada; a decision support tool (2009)

Deer-Car Accidents in Southern Michigan Ross E. Allen and Dale R. McCullough, Journal of Wildlife Management, vol 40., no. 2 1976.

Of the 2,566 accidents studies, "...the deer was killed in 92 percent of the accidents. Human injuries occurred in less than 4 percent, and most resulted from secondary collisions."

Methods to Reduce Traffic Crashes Involving Deer: What Works and What Does Not. Traffic Injury Prevention, Volume 5, Issue 2, 2004, Pages 122 - 131



More than 1.5 million traffic crashes involving deer, producing at least $1.1 billion in vehicle damage and about 150 fatalities, are estimated to occur annually in the United States. Deer-related crashes are increasing as both deer populations and vehicular travel increase. Many methods have been used in attempts to reduce deer crashes, often with little scientific foundation and limited evaluation. This article summarizes the methods and reviews the evidence of their effectiveness and the situations in which each may be useful. The only widely accepted method with solid evidence of effectiveness is well-designed and maintained fencing, combined with underpasses or overpasses as appropriate. Herd reduction is controversial but can be effective. Deer whistles appear useless. Roadside reflectors appear to have little long-term effect, although additional well-designed evaluations are needed before firm conclusions can be drawn. Both temporary passive signs and active signs appear promising in specific situations, but considerable research is required to evaluate long-term driver response and to improve and test deer detection technology for active signs. Other methods using advanced technology require substantial additional research and evaluation.

Examination of Factors Affecting Driver Injury Severity in Michigan's Single-Vehicle—Deer Crashes (2009)

Peter Savolainen and Indrajit Ghosh Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board


Michigan is plagued by more than 60,000 deer—vehicle crashes on an annual basis. Although the majority of these crashes result in property damage only, a substantial number lead to significant injuries and fatalities, illustrating the need for a better understanding of the many interrelated factors that affect crash severity. A database of all single-vehicle deer—vehicle crashes (DVC) reported to Michigan law enforcement agencies between January 1, 2004, and December 31, 2005, was used to estimate a multinomial logit model of driver injury severity. Results revealed a number of driver, vehicle, and environmental factors that significantly influenced injury severity. Younger drivers were more likely to be injured as a result of a DVC, a possible indication of a lack of appropriate skills or knowledge on the part of these drivers when they encounter deer on the roadway. Female drivers were found to be at an increased risk of injury, as were drivers who had a passenger in the vehicle at the time of the crash. Seatbelt and airbag usage were found to be the most effective means of reducing the likelihood of severe injuries, although airbags did increase the likelihood of minor injuries. Impacting deer head-on and avoiding run-off-the-road collisions were also found to reduce the propensity of injury. Educational and enforcement initiatives, such as the "Don't Veer for Deer" campaign, may provide a cost-effective means of combating the DVC problem. addressing the DVC severity issue.

National Deer-Vehicle Collisions Project, England, (2003-2005)The severity of DVCs (in terms level of damage sustained to vehicles and injuries to drivers), may generally be expected to increase with the size of the animal or deer species concerned. Among the six main free ranging deer species in England, the largest by far are red deer, with fully grown females commonly reaching weights in excess of 100kg and stags up to 200kg; the next largest species are fallow and sika (mean adult female weight c.50kg) at

approximately half the size and weight of red deer. The remaining three species are all significantly smaller, with roe approximately half the weight of adult fallow, while muntjac and Chinese Water deer somewhat smaller still. Hartwig (1991) in a study of DVCs reported to police authorities in western Germany found that 97.5% of collisions with roe deer caused only minor damage (up to 3000 DM; equiv. c.£1000) and therefore often go unrecorded, with the remainder causing more extensive damage and/or injury. For red deer, equivalent figures provided by Hartwig were 88% of collisions leading to minor damage, and 12% with major damage or injury; while figures for fallow were intermediate with 93% causing minor damage and 7% major damage or injury. Similarly, Haikonen and Summala (2001) in Finland estimated that the percentage of whitetailed deer-vehicle collisions resulting in human injuries lies at 1.3%, but rises to 9.9 % for incidents involving moose.

Wildlife-Highway Crossing Mitigation Measures May, 2007 Seasonal wildlife warning signs (2 signs per km, one sign for each travel direction, and an assumed life span of 10 years, no maintenance) may result in a 26% reduction of deer-vehicle collisions, and could end up saving $10,393 per km per year. Bear in mind, however, that these types of signs are only applicable in situations where deer (or other large animals) display road crossing behavior that is concentrated in space and time. Animal detection systems (life span 10 years, costs include maintenance) cost more, but still result in a positive balance of $1,562 per km per year because of their effectiveness in reducing wildlife-vehicle collisions by 82%. Vegetation removal, however, demonstrates more potential and may result in a positive balance of $14,729 per km per year.Assuming that deer reflectors and mirrors (life span 12.5 years, costs includes maintenance) are indeed not effective in reducing deer-vehicle collisions, they have a negative balance of $495 per km per year.

Cost for culling, relocation, and anti-fertility treatment was set at $110, $450, and $1128 (females only), respectively. Assuming that a population can only be reduced by 50% before the culling, relocation, or anti-fertility treatment efforts become much more labor intensive, the one time culling and relocation of 68.4 deer costs $7,524 and $30,780 (reduction of 68.4 deer). Suburban white-tailed deer populations can double their population size every 2-5 years, depending on the circumstances (DeNicola et al. 2000). Assuming a closed population (no immigration from adjacent areas) and a doubling of population size every 3 years, the culling and relocation effort would have to be repeated every 3 years, resulting in an annual cost per km road length of $2,508, $10,260 for culling and relocation. For the anti-fertility treatment, it was assumed that 80% of the females (80% of 68.4 female deer is 54.7 female deer, assuming an equal sex ratio), would have to be treated annually to stabilize or reduce the population density (DeNicola et al. 2000, Rudolph et al. 2000). This results in an annual cost for anti-fertility treatment of $61,702. The above calculations result in a positive balance for culling and relocation, and in a negative balance for anti-fertility treatment. Bear in mind that if the population is open to immigration from adjacent areas that the effectiveness for the culling, relocation, and anti-fertility treatment efforts will be much reduced or potentially eliminated.