The Challenge

For more than thirty years, Idaho Fish and Game and the Idaho Department of Transportation have collected information on the number of vehicle – wildlife collisions on Warm Springs Avenue and Highway 21.

Dead Deer/Car

Photo Credit: Idaho Department of Transportation

The annual count of dead deer has been as high as 150-210 in recent years. This doesn’t include wounded deer that move away from the road to die, or unborn fawns of pregnant does that are hit and killed.

The conflict between wildlife using their historic migration corridor and motorists using Hwy 21 also has a price tag. An estimated cost of $17 million in damages over the past 36 years breaks down to a minimum of $483,000 a year.

Cost Estimates per Collision* Deer Elk
Vehicle repair costs $1,840 $3,000
Human injuries $2,702 $5,403
Human fatalities $1,671 $6,683
Towing, accident attend., investigation $125 $375
Monetary value of animal $2,000 $3,000
Carcass removal and disposal $ 50 $ 50
TOTAL $8,388 $18,561

*Data from Conover et al., 1995; Cook & Daggett, 1995; Groote Bruinderink & Hazebroek, 1996; L-P Tardiff & Associates Inc. 2003; Huiser et. all., 2007

As a primary transportation route for people and a historic migration route for deer and elk, this trend will only become worse.