Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Wildlife migrations increase accident risk

Sheriff reports 4 recent collisions with animals

Express Staff Writer

More elk, as shown here recently north of Hailey, are moving about the Wood River Valley as spring-like weather settles in. Blaine County Sheriff Gene Ramsey reminds motorists to be cautious because of increased animal migration. Photo by Roland Lane

     With the advent of spring-like weather, deer, elk and other ungulates are more active in the Wood River Valley, leading to an increased risk for vehicle-versus-wildlife collisions.

     Blaine County Sheriff Gene Ramsey said Monday that there were four vehicle-and-wildlife collisions reported in the county within the past week. No humans were injured, but most of the animals were killed.

     The first accident occurred on Thursday, April 3, at about 10:15 p.m. when an elk was hit on state Highway 75 near the Sun Creek picnic site north of Ketchum. Ramsey said the animal “died at the scene.”

     The other three accidents all occurred on Sunday, with the first at 12:30 a.m. on Highway 75 near its intersection with Ohio Gulch Road. Ramsey said a car hit an elk but that the animal “limped away.”

     The second accident occurred at 6:45 a.m. on Gannett Road near Labrador Lane when a female deer was killed. Ramsey said that not only did the doe succumb to her injuries, but that the animal aborted two fawns because of the collision and both of them died.

     The third accident was at 9:30 p.m. on Highway 75 near the top of Timmerman Hill. Ramsey said a motorist hit a deer, but that the animal ran off. However, the sheriff doubts the deer survived.

     “It most likely died later,” Ramsey said. “Deer are pretty fragile when they hit a car.”

     The sheriff advised motorists to be extra cautious because there are more animals in the area.

     “The deer and elk are on the move,” he said. “There’s spring in the air and they’re moving back and forth to their migration areas. If you see one, there’s usually more. People need to be really careful.”

Wildlife committee

The Wildlife Crossing Committee, which serves as an advisory group to the Blaine County Regional Transportation Committee, meets at 2 p.m. today, April 9, at the Old Blaine County Courthouse. The committee will discuss “nontraditional” wildlife warning signage with representatives of the Idaho Transportation Department and will hear an update on a new bridge and its implications for wildlife that is planned for the Big Wood River near St. Luke’s Wood River hospital.

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