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Collision Consquences

Some of the consequences of a vehicle-animal collision are obvious: your car could be damaged, you could be hurt and — in rare instances — you could even be killed.

For animals, collisions with cars are almost always fatal. On an individual basis, those deaths might not seem very significant, but with the volume at which they’re happening, they can take a toll on the population over time.

In 2010, Utah had more than 2,800 vehicle-animal collisions that were large enough to generate a crash report (more than $1,500 in damage).

But many more crashes occurred. In those unreported cases, the animal was killed, but the damaged vehicle could still be driven away.

Retired Utah State University professor, John Bissonette, is a leading researcher in the effects of roads on animals. He estimates that between 6,000 and 10,000 deer are killed on Utah’s roads each year.

Decline in Deer

If you hit a doe between November and June, there's a good chance she was pregnant.

Utah’s mule deer population has been decreasing for a number of years now. Many things, including habitat loss, predation, poaching, chronic wasting disease and highway mortality are all considered factors.

When it comes to highway mortality, or vehicle-animal collisions, sometimes it’s not just one deer that is killed.

If you hit and kill a doe between November and June, there’s a good chance that she was pregnant. And even up until August, if a doe is hit and killed, her fawns may not be completely weaned from her milk. They may not be able to survive in the wild without her.

Find out more about mule deer and what the DWR is doing to help them.

Wildlife Viewing and Hunting

Utah’s deer, elk and moose are important parts of our wildlife heritage. Nearly all of us enjoy viewing these animals in the wild, but no one wants to see them crash through the windshield.

Hunting is also very popular in Utah. The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources is tasked with managing Utah’s wildlife, and maintaining Utah’s deer herds. With the population decline, the DWR has had to change the way that hunting permits are issued and managed.

Find out more about mule deer and what the DWR is doing to help them.