Park City wildlife collisions mount, leaving highly visible carcasses |

Park City wildlife collisions mount, leaving highly visible carcasses

The carcass of a large elk remained just off S.R. 224 early in the week. There was a series of collisions between drivers and wildlife in the middle of October, according to Park City Police Department reports.
Jay Hamburger/Park Record

The Park City Police Department in mid-October received reports of a string of vehicle collisions with wildlife, a set of cases that left carcasses in highly visible locations at a time when animals are likely moving to lower elevations with the arrival of the season’s first significant snow.

There are regular wildlife sightings in Park City, including on or close to roads, but it is rare for there to be so many collisions over the course of a week. There were reports on both of the entryways and elsewhere. In one case, a large elk was struck on the S.R. 224 entryway. The carcass remained just off the road early in the week, days after the animal was hit. It was visible to drivers on the busiest route in and out of Park City.

Some of the cases reported to the Police Department last week included:

Saturday, Oct. 20
At 11:22 p.m., a deer carcass was seen on the road somewhere along Park Avenue. The legs were reported to present a traffic hazard, according to Police Department logs.

“They’re kind of migrating this time of year. That’s a big reason there’s a lot of animals on the roadways,” Ralph Hottinger, Save People Save Wildlife

At 12:37 a.m., a City Hall bus reportedly hit an elk on S.R. 224. Nobody was injured on the bus, but the animal was blocking the road afterward.

Thursday, Oct. 18
At 10:51 p.m., a driver hit a young deer on Deer Valley Drive. The police said the deer was in the road afterward, creating a traffic hazard. A little bit earlier, at 9:41 p.m., a deer carcass was reported in a lane of S.R. 248.

At 9:24 p.m., the police received a report from someone saying a moose appeared to have been hit by a driver on S.R. 248. The animal was alive and in the road, the police were told.

Tuesday, Oct. 16
At 7:01 a.m., a driver hit an animal on S.R. 224. The person who contacted the Police Department was unsure of the species.

At 8:28 a.m., meanwhile, someone told the police of a bull moose, described as large, along Bonanza Drive. The person was afraid a driver would hit the animal, according to Police Department logs.

The cases since mid-October were reported as snow fell at the higher elevations. The wildlife typically moves to lower elevations in search of food as the snow falls.

A Park City-area activist noted the area remains in the rutting season for moose and elk, a time when the animals are especially active. Ralph Hottinger, who is with a group known as Save People Save Wildlife, pointed to the time of year.

“With moose and elk . . . they’re kind of looking around for mating,” he said, adding, “They’re crossing the road a lot and also they’re looking for water.”

He also said the animals move between elevations in the fall.

“They’re kind of migrating this time of year. That’s a big reason there’s a lot of animals on the roadways,” Hottinger said.

Hunters might be “scaring” deer out of their habitat and toward roads, he also said.

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