FWP would like to remind folks to watch for deer and other animals on the road, especially during the early morning and early evening hours when both visibility is difficult and animals are sometimes more active. With the recent hour time change, many folks who are commuting are now an hour “forward” and may see more activity.
As our deer numbers are continuing to make a comeback across the region, more and more animal-vehicle accidents are bound to occur. In addition, the spring “fawning” season is just around the corner, and deer are often moving from place to place.
Please use the following advice when driving on Montana highways and roads, taken from Geico.com:
*The two most important ways to avoid a deer-vehicle collision are: slow down and SLOW DOWN. If you are driving through an area known for high deer populations, slow down and observe the speed limit. The more conservative you are with your speed, the more time you will have to brake if an animal darts into your path.
*Always wear a seat belt. The most severe injuries in deer-vehicle collisions usually result from failure to use a seat belt.
*Watch for the shine of eyes along the roadside and immediately begin to slow.
*Use your high beams whenever the road is free of oncoming traffic. This will increase your visibility and give you more time to react.
*Pay close attention to caution signs indicating deer or other large animals. These signs are specifically placed in high-traffic areas where road crossings are frequent.
*Whenever possible, try not to drive at dawn and dusk, when visibility is most difficult.
Encountering a Deer
*Never swerve to avoid a deer in the road. Swerving can confuse the deer on where to run. Swerving can also cause a head-on collision with oncoming vehicles, take you off the roadway into a tree or a ditch, and greatly increase the chances of serious injuries.
*If you do collide with a deer or large animal, try to let off the brakes at the moment of impact. Braking through the impact can cause the hood of your vehicle to dip down, which can propel the animal through the windshield.
*Call emergency services if injuries are involved, or the local police/highway patrol if no one is injured, but damage has been caused to your property or someone else’s.
If you or someone else has unfortunately struck a deer, there is the option to salvage it with a permit. The 2013 Montana Legislature passed a bill that allows for the salvage of deer, elk, moose, and antelope killed as a result of a collision with a motor vehicle.
Some important information on the salvage permit:
*Permits are available at no cost online through the fwp.gov web page.
*To possess salvaged wildlife a person must obtain a salvage permit. A person has 24 hours to apply for and get a salvage permit.
*A person may pick up an animal that he/she did not hit. The process is the same and he/she must obtain a salvage permit through this web page.
*Anyone who salvages a road-killed deer, elk, moose, or antelope will be required to remove the entire animal from where it is found. Parts or viscera cannot be left at the site. To do so is a violation of state law and would encourage other wildlife to scavenge in a place that would put them at risk of also being hit.