For now it’s just data, but its uses in trip planning, signing, road construction, and road routing are obvious-

Highway Wildlife Collisions. Idaho Fish and Game.

Idaho Fish and Game says it’s web site database will be available for public use soon.

About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan's Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of "Hiking Idaho." He also wrote "Beyond the Tetons" and "Backpacking Wyoming's Teton and Washakie Wilderness." He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

One Response to Idaho Fish and Game develops wildlife collision database

  1. Salle says:

    Back in 1999 or 2000 I spoke, at length, with Dr. Lance Craighead about this idea. He told me he was designing a study on ways to alleviate this problem using a variety of techniques.

    Recently I saw a pamphlet at a friend’s home addressing this issue and here’s part of what it had to offer:

    In Montana the Craighead Environmental Institute conducted a five year study (2001-2005) of animal/vehicle accidents on Bozeman Pass and found that >1300 animals were killed on that stretch, 28 miles, of Interstate highway (this doesn’t count those who were injured since that would be very difficult to assess).

    Of that 1300, 763 were large animals; deer, elk, moose, cougars, bears. The breakdown:650 deer, 48 coyotes,42 owls and raptors, 34 elk, 18 black bears, 8 cougars, 4 moose and 1 wolf. This created a societal cost of roughly $7.63 million in total costs per collision for wildlife collisions over the five year study period. (societal costs included vehicle repair; human injuries; human fatalities; towing, accident attendance, investigation; monetary est. value of wildlife lost; carcass removal and disposal.)

    For deer, elk and moose the total cost per collision breaks down to an estimated $8,388 for deer; $18,561 for elk; $30,773 for moose. With insurance and all other rates and expenses increasing, it only gets worse over time.

    American Wildlands promotes wildlife over/underpasses for some relief of the high number of wildlife lost to traffic by showing the costs of such incidents~insurance, towing, auto repairs, carcass removal, personal injury etc. compared to the actual cost of retrofitting and/or building such structures. These over/underpasses seem to have a beneficial impact though it isn’t always so since a lot of wildlife aren’t trying to cross traffic where these structures are located.

    But it’s a good idea to try this.

    Making drivers aware to watch out for these animals, Idaho has a good idea too. Although, back in the day when I was driving over the road in semis, I remember little flashing yellow diamond-shaped signs that warned of cattle in open range, and migration passages for wildlife in Wyoming, Idaho, Montana and other interior western states. Where did those go? They seemed to work then.

    Another good idea would be for humans to get over the mindset that they are invincible and somehow protected when they are behind the wheel, most have pretty bad driving skills.

    “Just because you bought a new car/pick up truck doesn’t mean your driving skills have improved…”


December 2008


‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey