Be Aware Of Wildlife This Winter Season

Dec 22, 2020

Winter is a time of reduced food supplies and covers for most wildlife. Just as we humans prepare for winter, so must Utah's wildlife. To survive winter wildlife must either hibernate, migrate or adapt.

Hibernating wildlife will lower their body temperatures and sleep to save energy, living off the fat reserves they built up during the summer and fall. Elk, moose, and deer may move from higher elevation summer ranges to lower elevations each winter to search for food and shelter.

Animals adapting to winter may grow denser feathers, den together in groups, or change color to camouflage themselves against the snow. Some wildlife winterization strategies may create conflicts with humans, as animals seek food and cover near or in our homes. Seasonal elk, moose, and deer migrations may create negative encounters with humans, as the animals cross highways that bisect historical migration corridors.

You can reduce the risk of negative encounters with wildlife by becoming more familiar with the wildlife near you. In Utah, deer migration corridors that cross highways are often marked by signs. When driving in these areas, slow down. Watch for deer, especially around dawn and between the hours of 6 pm and 9 pm, when they're most active.

Be alert if you see an animal on the side of the road slow down. If a deer crosses your path, break, don't swerve. Your odds of surviving an accident are better when hitting an animal than hitting another car. Deer also travel in groups, so if you see one run across the road, expect others to follow

More information at wildawareutah.org