CHEYENNE, Wyo.- The Wyoming Highway Patrol reports there were 1,130 collisions with animals on Wyoming roads last year between September through November. That's almost double the amount compared to the previous three months before. However, the Wyoming Department of Transportation says that number is actually higher. They say last year there were more than 2,000 animal carcasses found on the side of roads that were determined to be from a vehicle collision. According to WYDOT, many of these accidents are not reported.
Wyoming Highway Patrol Sgt. Kyle McKay says it's actually a law to report an accident with a large animal. He said, "When you’re involved in an accident in Wyoming worth $1,000 or more, and that’s with any crash that we have, you’re required to report it.” Not only is it a law, but Sgt. McKay says it's also to make sure the animal doesn't suffer.
Wyoming Game and Fish Senior Wildlife Biologist Grant Frost says the months between September through November have a high spike of animal collisions while animals tend to migrate during the winter. He said, "Deer seem to be the worst, and there’s been work around the state to try to mitigate that problem."
Frost says there's been work done across the state to build underpasses and overpasses for animals while they migrate, which he says has been mostly successful. Although it's affected some wildlife's ability to migrate, he says the number of collisions in some areas has decreased.
Sgt. McKay says there are ways you can reduce your chances of hitting an animal. He says drivers should try to avoid driving in dusk and dawn when more animals tend to move and slow down in marked areas that have animal-crossing signs.
Frost agreed and added that drivers should always wear their seat belt and try to avoid swerving. He says if you have time, try to slow down, especially since most animals tend to migrate in large groups. When asked what to do in the situation Frost said, "That's a tough question because every person is different in how they react." He added, "There are certain places that are more dangerous, but they can happen anywhere in the state."