Barbara Baird is a freelance writer in outdoor and travel markets. A former small-town newspaper editor and reporter, she constantly hunts for news headlines you need to read. Barbara also publishes Women’s Outdoor News online and pens columns for the National Wild Turkey Federation and Shooting Sports USA. Hailing from the Ozarks of Missouri, this avid hunter is now mentoring the second generation of hunters - her own little bevy of Realtree-wearing grandchildren.
Why did the Deer Cross the Road?
Will Brantley sent me a news item that piqued my interest. After all, I’d just been up and down California’s Interstate 280 last week while visiting family in the Bay Area.
It seems, according to Will Kane in the San Francisco Chronicle, that on average one deer gets hit every month while trying to cross this stretch.
The California Department of Fish and Game, UC Davis and Caltrans have partnered to study deer movement in this particular area – to the price tag of $300,000. Last weekend researchers tranquilized deer in the hillsides along the Interstate and fitted the deer with radio collars that will track movements for up to six months. Said the state deer coordinator, Craig Stowers, “First, we are trying to find out how the (older) ones make it across. Then we're trying to find out where the (younger) ones aren't making it across."
Since the Peninsula freeway is mainly bordered on both sides by open areas, it will be a challenge to find the “hot spots” for crossing and install fences, tunnels and other structures to keep the deer away from the highways. In fact, Fraser Shilling, co-director of the Road Ecology Center at UC Davis, said, "When highways go through open space areas, there are really no hot spots. The idea of wildlife corridors is a myth.”
Schilling believes if they build the crossings, then deer will come to them. Or not. Time will tell.
What do you think? Is this a viable research project, or just a waste of money?