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Colliding with wildlife

Dear Editor:During the last three to four months, there have been highway fatalities and a number of serious accidents associated with wildlife, especially deer and elk. Agency/community memory being what it is, it may be helpful to very briefly review the results of a Colorado Division of Wildlife/Colorado Department of Transportation 10-year study of deer/elk vehicle accidents.Relevant to recent suggestions, the findings in this study concluded that the following were not effective in reducing deer/elk vehicle accidents: deer crossing signs, highway lighting, roadside reflectors and vehicle-mounted ultrasonic whistles.So what was effective? Eight-foot barrier fencing (properly located and maintained), and underpasses associated with 8-foot fencing (a new example is under Highway 82 in Snowmass Canyon).In other words, keeping deer and elk off the highway.In reference to recent statements (Glenwood Springs Post Independent, March 24, “Senate kills wildlife protection measure”), deer and elk are indeed startled by vehicles, but perhaps even more often blinded by the oncoming headlights. As for speed, it is without doubt associated with the severity and the likelihood of such accidents.Dale ReedGlenwood Springs


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