Road Kill Costs Millions, Endangers Lives, and Hurts Wildlife Populations. Here’s a Plan to Fix That

Greyman

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Jan 14, 2019
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"If you don’t think road kill can take a bite out of hunters’ opportunity, just ask Bruce Sterling.
Since 1985, the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks biologist has counted bighorn sheep that have been killed near Thompson Falls, where US Highway 200 and railroad tracks run between cliffs and a river for about 10 miles.
Sterling has counted nearly 500 bighorn killed in collisions, 84 percent by cars and trucks, the rest by train. During those same decades, FWP issued only 274 ram tags to hunters.
“When you lose that many sheep, it certainly has an impact on hunter opportunity,” he said."

 

theat

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NW Montana
I live just down the road from that stretch of highway where all those sheep have been hit. A few years ago the state dropped the speed limit where the sheep tend to cross the road from 70 down to 55. It seems like that helped, but it could also be that there are a lot less sheep in that herd so there are less to be hit on the road. This year they are doing a bunch of work on that part of the highway and are installing a bunch of wildlife proof fencing and an underpass for the sheep. The fencing was proposed a long time ago by the Montana WSF, but a few of the landowners along there threw a big fit about it. Thankfully for the sheep, the state went ahead and did it anyway.
 

Ben Long

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Aug 8, 2011
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Kalispell, MT
My sense is the number of sheep roadkills at TFalls has declined mostly because the herd has declined. Speed limits are rarely effective in this kind of thing -- folks drive whatever they feel safe, given the road and the weather, etc. In some places, sheep are also attracted to the roads to lick winter roadsalts. Not sure if DOT is still salting that stretch or if they're using some other kind of deicer that isn't as attractive to animals.
 

wllm1313

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Dec 9, 2015
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Aurora, CO
They installed a bunch of fencing + animal crossing by Kremmling, CO... driving that road is a wildly different experience than it used to be, well worth the money in my opinion.
 

dirtclod Az.

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Jan 24, 2018
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Doing the same(Underpasses) here in Az. in densly populated Elk areas.
Seems to be working out great,combined with large road signs and lower speed limits. :cool:
 

dirtclod Az.

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"If you don’t think road kill can take a bite out of hunters’ opportunity, just ask Bruce Sterling.
Since 1985, the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks biologist has counted bighorn sheep that have been killed near Thompson Falls, where US Highway 200 and railroad tracks run between cliffs and a river for about 10 miles.
Sterling has counted nearly 500 bighorn killed in collisions, 84 percent by cars and trucks, the rest by train. During those same decades, FWP issued only 274 ram tags to hunters.
“When you lose that many sheep, it certainly has an impact on hunter opportunity,” he said."


Good on you Greyman for such an enlightening post! :cool:
 

Greyman

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Jan 14, 2019
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South Texas
Thanks. It's not very many issues that almost everyone can agree on that could actually make a difference.
 

LuketheDog

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Nov 29, 2015
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Sedalia, Colorado
I've read up on this a bit, the engineered wildlife crossings work really well, it's a concept I hope more agencies use in the future.
 
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