Two Bitterroot Areas in Top 10 for Wildlife vs Vehicle Wrecks
When your car or truck hits a deer or elk, you can expect a large repair bill. And the Bitterroot Valley has two of the top 10 road sections where such accidents occur.
The Center for Large Landscape Conservation used five years of data from the Montana Department of Transportation to come up with the top areas of WVCs - Wildlife-Vehicle Collisions. They counted the number of carcasses alongside the roadways, and determined that October to December are the most dangerous times on Montana roads.
The highest number of such accidents in the state is along US 93 on the northwest corner of Flathead Lake south of Kalispell. That's followed by a 10-mile stretch west of Bozeman from Four Corners on US 191.
The Top Ten included the Ravalli County areas - US 93 between Woodside and Hamilton at #5 and the East Side Highway between Corvallis and Stevensville at #8.
Of course, this doesn't mean there are no such collisions along the rest of US 93 and the East Side Highway. We know better than that. The whole valley has numerous elk, deer and moose.
Other areas in Montana that had high WVC activity included Red Lodge, Twin Bridges and Dillon.
Tips for avoiding deer and elk collisions - use high beams whenever possible, slow down on the corners, be extra careful at dusk and dawn hours, deer and elk never travel alone (if you see one, there are more around). If a deer is in your path, use your brakes, but don't swerve.
The study "High-Risk Zones for Ungulate-vehicle Collisions during Montana's fall migration season" is online at the Landscape Center's website.