I Wonder: How do they know where to put deer crossing signs?

I Wonder: How do they know where to put deer crossing signs?

Credit: AP

I Wonder: How do they know where to put deer crossing signs?

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by TRAVIS PITTMAN / KING5.com

NWCN.com

Posted on June 7, 2010 at 10:56 AM

Updated Wednesday, Jul 21 at 11:33 AM

Welcome to the start of a new feature on KING5.com - "I wonder." Here, we hope to answer questions you may have wanted answers to but didn't know who to ask.

The questions you submit can be anything - serious to funny, informative to silly. It doesn't matter. We think it's something many of you will enjoy and we invite you to take part.

To get us started, I decided to find the answer to a question I have wondered about.

When you see a school crossing sign, it's because there is a school nearby. It's stationary. It doesn't move. Kids go to and from the school by crossing the same streets.

It's a different story with deer. It's not like they have a particular building in a particular location to go to every day that drivers know about. So how do transportation officials know where to put deer crossing signs?

Unfortunately, it starts with figuring out with where deer are being killed by vehicles.

Kelly McAllister of the Washington State Department of Transportation says WSDOT maintenance workers write down locations of dead deer and elk that they remove from the highways. The Washington State Patrol also reports on every collision they respond to involving wildlife and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife tracks problem areas using a variety of information, including from animals wearing radio collars.

The locations of these signs are not permanent. WSDOT regulations state that they must be reviewed every five years to determine if the location still warrants a sign.

McAllister says a wildlife fence that is being built on US 97A, north of Wenatchee, is a perfect example of how those sources of information are used to protect wildlife. The fence is designed to keep Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep off the highway.

If you have a question you'd like the KING5.com staff to try answering, send it to iwonder@king5.com.  Do not post your question in the comment section. Please include your first name and where you are writing from so we can post it with your question. We will not post your last name or any other information.

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