This is a short stretch with a lot of commuting and tourist traffic. Story. AP

The study found that at least 134 collisions between vehicles and deer or elk occurred in 2007 on the 26-mile stretch from Ketchum south to the intersection of state Highway 75 and U.S. Highway 20.

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Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

12 Responses to Study looks at central Idaho wildlife-vehicle collisions

  1. avatar Alan Gregory says:

    My first full-time newspaper job was in Gooding (mid 70s). I remember well the roadkill carnage on area roads, including hawks and magpies between Wendell and Gooding.

  2. avatar Catbestland says:

    An enormous number of deer and elk are killed each year on our roads. It is total carnage on Colorado 550 S out of Montrose through the San Juans in winter. It seems that the amount of dead animals would more than feed a substantial wolf population if the carcassas were removed to the high country. (That is if we had wolves.)

    Why don’t you hear outfitters complaining about the numbers of deer and elk lost in traffic collisions? It is probably more than are lost to wolves. If not, it is still a substantial number.

  3. In Central Idaho, the roadkill feeds several wolf packs during the winter, a fact none of the documents (as far as I can see) mention.

  4. avatar TPageCO says:

    Living on the stretch mentioned in the article as the worst spot for more than a year, I never saw any carrion feeders other than the numerous vultures and an occasional golden eagle. Wolves would have to be pretty bold to wander down to the Wood River Valley bottom to feed there – assuming there are any wolves south of Ketchum on a semi-regular basis that is. There’s not much of a problem in the summertime. Honestly though, I saw much more carnage on I-70 in Colorado as the game density is so much higher there, and I can’t imagine how bad it must have been this past winter…

    I would also say that there were many complaints annually regarding elk/deer kill on I-70. Eagle County deer herds were reduced (permanently) 40% in the 70’s when the Interstate was built. There are still areas void of deer in the high country due to blocked migration routes that have never been mitigated. Local outfitters and hunters have made their voices heard on this issue – it’s part of the reason Vail Pass has been subject to overpass/underpass studies.

  5. avatar Catbestland says:

    I read an article not too long ago that they are going to build a large overpass on Vail Pass this year.

  6. avatar jjordan says:

    They have been doing it in Arizona for the last few years with mixed results.

  7. avatar john weis says:

    The last report I saw from utah state suggested 10,000 deer and elk crashes in utah per year, with a 90% mortality. Compared to a few hundred per year that two to three packs of wolves in the unitas and book cliff areas might feast upon. “Save a deer, ride a bike” is not a slogan SFW are quick to adopt.

  8. avatar Mike Post says:

    Colorado lowered their number of such crashes by instituting a 10 mph lower speed limit for night time driving in impacted areas. It did not solve the problem but there was a significant reduction in collisions (10-15%).

  9. TPageCO,

    Highway 75 does become a source of carrion for wolves and many other animals from North Fork northward, as I’m sure you’re aware. I just wanted to point that out for folks who don’t know the area.

    The Phantom Hill Pack gets quite a bit of its nourishment this way.

  10. avatar Mack P. Bray says:

    SFW? My ears perked up…

    john weis, you made me laugh with “Save a deer, ride a bike.”

    You’re right, “Save an elk, ride a bike” is not a slogan Some Sportsmen for Some Fish and All The Big Game and Predators We Can Legally Kill would adopt anytime soon.

    Mack P. Bray
    Wildlife Watchers
    wildlifewatchers@bresnan.net
    My opinions are my own

  11. avatar Catbestland says:

    Why aren’t SFW and FNYEH complaining about the number of elk and deer killed on the highways or contributing to the construction of over/undepasses? Perhaps then there would be enough game to satisify outfitter demands and feed the wolves as well.

  12. avatar john weis says:

    Catbestland,
    Well one reason is they are spending their money trying to fund politicians. Don Peay founder of SFW, recently spent $70,000 for two hours of face time with Bush when he was in Park City last week. Where did that $70,000 come from, I wonder?

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