During the winter, an abundance of snow and lack of food forces deer to forage for food in the lower elevations, typically in locations that are highly populated by people.

Winter is also a time when the sun sets earlier, meaning darkness falls around rush hour. 

“That’s putting us on the road at the same time animals are more active,” said Randy Hampton, spokesman for Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

Hampton said it is difficult to determine an exact number of accidents involving deer or elk as many of these accidents go unreported.  He said there is a spike during the winter, where there are about four times as many accidents in comparison to the rest of the year.

According to Colorado Parks and Wildlife, I-25 between Monument and Colorado Springs is a “high-risk” area because of the migration of the deer.  Highway 115 between Colorado Springs and Penrose and Highway 50 between Monarch Pass and Montrose are also on the list of high-risk areas.

Hampton said the most effective way to avoid colliding with an animal is to slow down this season.

If drivers do crash with an animal, they should ensure their safety first.  They should then make sure the animal is not in the middle of the road, where they could cause another accident.  Colorado Parks and Wildlife said drivers should call 911, even if the animal is only injured.  Emergency services can dispatch wildlife officers to assist in these situations.

If the driver wishes to salvage the animal, they must apply for a road kill permit within 48 hours of the accident.