News & Media

Wildlife crossings in Bitterroot pose danger to drivers

by Bernie Riggs (KPAX News)
October 25, 2012

MISSOULA- Winter weather and general hunting season pushing wildlife down into the valleys, meaning that now is certainly the time to use extra caution on the roadways.

One particular stretch of U.S. Highway 93 South between Lolo and Florence has seen an increase in elk traffic, according to state wildlife officials.

Changes in movement patterns mean more elk are coming down to fields west of the road, and then crossing the highway east to the river for water and vegetation.

Despite new signs warning commuters of the danger, Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks says 12 elk have been hit over the last year.

“It’s such a busy area too for commuters coming in and out of the Bitterroot everyday, and this time of year it means not much daylight at those popular commute hours too so it’s just kind of a perfect storm with less daylight, more animals moving around, lots of people on the roads, and it’s just a place to really be cautious,” Vivica Crowser with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks explained.

She also advises drivers to turn off cruise control when driving through animal-crossing hotspots, and to also know that sighting one quite often means more are in the area.