Utah DWR is reminding drivers to be on the lookout for wildlife

It’s not unusual this time of year to see deer while driving through Sardine Canyon or on U.S. Highway 91 between Smithfield and Preston.

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) is reminding drivers to be on the lookout for wildlife in the coming months.

During the winter, there is an increase in wildlife along the roadways, primarily due to big game animals migrating to lower elevations in search of feed, according to Daniel Olson, wildlife migration initiative coordinator for the Utah DWR.

The migration period for deer is typically April and May, and then again in November which, coincidentally, is when the highest number of vehicle and deer collisions occur, Olson said.

Olson said deer are more active early in the morning and in the evenings, which coincides with busy commuting hours. This is also when low-light conditions make it difficult for drivers to see.

Here are some tips from Wild Aware Utah to help you avoid wildlife collisions:

Be especially alert at dawn and dusk.

Heed wildlife crossing signs.

Be alert on roadways near wooded, agricultural and wetland areas and also near lakes and streams.

Scan both sides of the road.

Do not drive distracted.

When possible, use high beam headlights to illuminate the road.

Look for an animal’s eyeshine, which can be seen from a distance.

 Slow down once you have spotted an animal near the roadside.

Some animals travel in groups, so be sure to watch for additional animals if you see one.

Do not throw trash out of your vehicle.

If you see an animal near the road, here are some additional suggestions:

Do not swerve for a deer or small animal.

If several animals are standing in the road, do not try to drive through them or get out of the vehicle to chase or herd them. Honk your horn and flash your lights to encourage them to move on.

If an animal has crossed the road, continue to drive slowly and be cautious because it may try to cross again.

If you hit an animal:

Pull off the road and use your hazard lights if your car is undriveable.

Do not try to approach an injured animal.

Call 911 or contact your local police department if you were injured or if the animal is in the roadway and could pose a threat to public safety.

For more information about wildlife/vehicle collisions or deer migration, contact DWR wildlife migration initiative coordinator Daniel Olson at danielolson@utah.gov.

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