It’s time to slow down and really watch for wildlife on the roads. While the Elk Rut is starting to wind down but the herds are still wandering browsing and bugling and the Deer rut is just beginning. During the rut, animals are distracted and not at all wary about wandering near or on roads.
Our wildlife benefits from motorist awareness and safety. Remember to stay alert and scan both sides of the road especially at dawn, dusk and the first few hours after darkness. When possible and safe to do so, use your high beams after dark. Pay attention to Wildlife Crossing signs. Slow down and be especially careful in those areas. Always be able to stop on short notice. Sometimes animals seem to come out of nowhere! If you see wildlife in the road, slow down, signal drivers behind you, and brake firmly. Do not assume an animal will move out of the way.
Remember, where there is one animal, there are likely to be more – a single female may be followed by several other females, young ones, and a male or two in sometimes hot pursuit.
Elk and Deer Jams create dangerous traffic situations for both animals and motorists. Slow down and take appropriate precautions to avoid wildlife. Don’t slow down to take pictures of wildlife posing no danger to or interference with traffic.
If there is an accident in which in which you, your vehicle and/or animal is injured, use your hazard lights or emergency road flares or both to warn oncoming traffic. If it is an emergency situation, call 9-1-1. Otherwise call Estes Park Police non-emergency at 970-586-4000 and do your best to provide details – location, when and where the animal was injured and/or any relevant traffic hazard.
Enjoy wildlife at a safe distance. Be aware. Be careful. Have fun, and stay safe.