News & Media

Drivers urged to use caution during wildlife migration

October 27, 2012

ELKO — The Nevada Departments of Transportation and Wildlife and the Nevada Highway Patrol are reminding motorists to drive safely in wildlife-prone areas during the current fall wildlife migration.

“Fall deer migration in northeastern Nevada usually continues through November, depending on weather,” Nevada Department of Wildlife Public Information Officer Joe Doucette said. “Deer often cross Interstate 80 and U.S. 93 in the northeastern part of the state at that time.”

“A large deer or animal can cause great damage to a vehicle, and more importantly, to motorists,” Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Jim Stewart explained. “Always drive carefully, particularly in wildlife-prone areas. Look for deer/elk crossing signs and scan the road ahead for potential wildlife.”

In a recent five-year span, there were nearly 2,500 reported vehicle-animal collisions across Nevada, including approximately 1,300 involving deer. Research estimates that more than 50 percent of such collisions go unreported to authorities, pointing to a potentially higher number of animal-related incidents.

NDOT and NDOW have jointly installed five safety crossings on U.S. 93 north of Wells. The two overpasses and three underpasses are designed to reduce the chance of collisions caused as deer and other large animals migrate across U.S. 93.

The underpasses and overpass walkways are covered with earth to replicate the natural environment and encourage use by animals. Deer fencing is installed on both sides of the crossings to help direct animals to cross at the designated overpasses and underpasses.

Research conducted by Nova Simpson and Dr. Kelley Stewart of the University of Nevada, Reno shows that, during the first four migrations in which safety crossings were installed, more than 16,000 mule deer were kept off the road and away from potential collisions with vehicles. NDOT is completing another safety crossing on I-80’s Silver Zone Pass between Oasis and West Wendover.

“Zero fatalities is Nevada’s traffic safety goal,” NDOT Director Rudy Malfabon said. “While NDOT and our partners install important road safety measures such as these wildlife crossings, it is still the responsibility of each motorist to drive safely.”