RENO, Nev. - (KOLO) It's the time of year that mule deer in Nevada are on the move.
"You are going to come into situations on highways throughout Western Nevada and into California where mule deer migrations are going to be part of what you're going to have to deal with," said Chris Healy of the Nevada Department of Wildlife. "So that means you're going to need to keep your eyes open. And those signs that say 'animal crossing,' they're there for a reason."
He says over the past few decades the Nevada Department of Transportation has been keeping herd migration in mind.
"By building better fencing and also building wildlife overpasses like in Eastern Nevada on Highway 93 and I-80; those have actually saved a lot of mule deer," Healy said. "In two different migrations, 7,000 deer used it going back and forth; that's 7,000 less chances of a collision with a car. The Department of Transportation has a biologist that helps deal with issues like this because people want the animal herds well managed and they want to be safe of the roadways. It's kind of a win-win."
He says drivers in the Sierra should also keep an eye out for bears; about 200 have bit hit and killed by cars in the last two decades.
"They operate at night, they have a dark fur coat and it's pitch black on the side of the highway," Healy said. "So when you see a bear sign in the Tahoe Basin, pay attention. When you're driving along a highway with a lot of foliage on the sides, animals could be in there and bolt out at any time. Keep your eye out, keep yourself safe, your car intact and our animals safe in the long run."