Drivers are being reminded to watch out for deer collisions as they tend to rise in April and remain at that level for May, June and July in the Burns Lake area.
According to Gayle Hesse, coordinator of the British Columbia Conservation Foundation’s wildlife collision prevention program, that’s because the first green grass on the landscape in the spring is found in the roadside ditches.
“Many animals are drawn to this first feast after winter,” she explained. “Proximity to the road increases the risk of collisions.”
According to estimates from the British Columbia Conservation Foundation, about 15 deer collisions occur each month in the spring and early summer in the Lakes District.
“Cow moose and calves, as well as fawns, may also be susceptible to vehicle collisions in the spring when the young animals are starting to move around and follow their mothers, and may not be as nimble and quick as they are later in the year,” added Hesse.
Deer collisions have a second and larger peak in October, November and December, with about 30 collisions per month.
Moose collisions, on the other hand, have a distinct peak in June and July in the Lakes District, and then a larger peak in December and January. That’s because female moose deliver their calves in late May and June. During this time, cow moose crave salt and other mineral and nutrients, which are plentiful at roadside mineral locks.
“Accumulations of water dissolve the minerals and nutrients in the soil and make them available for the moose to ingest through slurping up the water in the muddy lick areas,” explained Hesse.
In the area known as Bulkley-Stikine District – which includes Hwy. 16, 35, 37, 37A and 118 – 38 per cent of wildlife collisions involve moose while 32 per cent involve deer and nine per cent involve bears. Hesse added that the true number of wildlife collisions that happen on the roads can never be known because of situations when an animal is hit but moves away from the highway into the forest.
When drivers spot a deer on the road, they should always assume that other deer might be following the first one.
“You might miss the first one and hit the second one,” said Hesse. “Always shift your focus off the first deer to see if there are more coming along.”