Why did the elk cross the road? To get to the other side, of course. The joke is silly, but for Colorado big game animals it's the truth. It's also dangerous for motorists as this crossing can happen without warning.

As the weather warms, elk, deer, and other wildlife are on the move to find the most delicious food and comfortable shelter.

Our roadways often cross wildlife 'roadways' and these animals think they have the right-of-way. After all, they were here first.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) officials see an increase in wildlife automobile collisions in the spring as the animals are very active moving from lower to higher elevations as the weather warms. I suppose they get spring fever, too.

CPW offers some tips to help reduce the likelihood of colliding with one of the state's big game animals.

  • Slow Down - Lower speeds give you more time to react.
  • Stay Alert - Especially at dawn and dusk when big game animals are most active.
  • Scan Ahead - Look for movement on the side of the roadway or shining eyes reflected in your headlights.
  • Take Wildlife Warning and Traffic Signs Seriously - These mark the most common areas where wildlife are likely to cross the road.

The Colorado Department of Transportation sees between 3,000 and 4,000 vehicle-wildlife crashes every year. They also report the average damage to the vehicle in one of these collisions exceeds $3,000. Oh, Deer!