Collision With an Animal, What to do?

Deer Crossing SignOver the 11 years ending in 2017 an average of about 5,762 wildlife collisions were noted in the Wildlife Accident Reporting System each year. The data is provided by BC's road maintenance contractors. I suspect that this number is not the entire picture as some animals are able to struggle away from the collision scene and die unnoticed. One estimate places this number at 12,000 annually.

The human cost is high as well. An average of 4 humans die annually in crashes involving animals of some sort on BC highways. Reported in 2019, ICBC says it sees about $41 million in claim costs annually in relation to motor-vehicle collisions involving animals.

November and May it share the distinction of being the most likely month for you to run into wildlife on BC's roads, literally. 80% of wildlife collisions in this province involve deer and occur between 7:00 pm and 11:00 pm. However, moose, elk, bear and sheep are involved as well.

Deer whistles are useless. The animals have a narrower range of hearing than humans do, so if you can't hear it, they can't either! Studies show that they have little or no impact on roadside animals and researchers suspect that if they did the startled animal has as much chance of moving onto the highway as they do away from it.

The BCSPCA advises that you should contact their cruelty hotline at 1-855-622-7722 or local animal control so that someone may be dispatched to assist the animal. While the BCSPCA does not provide animal control services in all communities in BC, their call centre operators do have access to animal control agency numbers throughout BC and may be able to provide some assistance albeit over the telephone.

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure advises that the actions which can, and ideally should, be taken are set out in the Wildlife Collision Prevention Program website. If you collide with and kill a wild or domestic animal, you can report this to DriveBC on line as a non-emergency problem. They will notify the road maintenance contractor of the location and steps will be taken to remove the carcass on your behalf.

The Ministry of the Environment advises that it is a legal requirement to notify them of the killing or wounding of most larger wildlife. The report may be made through the Conservation Officer Service's Report All Poachers and Polluters line at 1-877-952-7277.

Finally, the police are available at all times and may be available to asist you, particularly where the animal is injured and needs to be destroyed.

Reference Links:

My husband sent me a link to your recent DriveSmart BC article on what to do if you hit an animal.  I wanted to share this on facebook but I felt there was information lacking and I wanted to comment on a couple of items that perhaps you were not aware of.

1)  For many people a pet is very much an member of the family. Some will spend thousands of dollars in order to find a missing pet.  In your article you mention that the raod maintenance contractor can be called to pick up deceased animals.  What some do not know is that these animals, and they often they are someones pet, are then disposed of in the local dump.  They are not documented so that owners can call and see if their pet was found.  The families will never know  what happened to their pets.

People can also call local veterinary hospitals to see if the pet can be held there until an owner is found.  This allows for owners to have closure with the loss of their pet and chose what they would like done with the body, such as cremation or home burial.  There are many organizations now on Facebook in most communities that have volunteers that will also come and get the pet for you if you are not able to transport it.  These groups are often Lost and Found pet sites on facebook for the specific community.

If a pet is injured it can also be taken to a Veterinarian.  The individual is not responsible for the costs as most would think.  All Vet hospitals have after hours phone numbers and a Vet can always be reached.  This is large and small animals.

2) Your article mentions that the police are available at all times in case an animal needs to be destroyed.  This is a personal issue for me. Please correct me if i'm wrong but from what i've seen police officers are not trained in how to properly and humanely dispatch an animal to end its suffering.  There are different locations (killspots) on different species to properly end their lives as quick as possible. I've witnessed an officer dispatch a horse in a completely incorrect manner and the horse suffered for 25 minutes while it bled to death.  I questioned him on his method and he had no idea nor did he try to obtain the proper information on how to do it  correctly.  I tried to contact the local RCMP in hopes that I could provide them with the information so that officeres could at least call in for the information.  I was willing to do all the leg work and provide the information, but no one ever returned my calls.

Unfortunately, animals and vehicles cross paths.  Whether its a wild animal or a family pet, they are living creatures like ourselves and deserve respect and commpassion.  I was happy to see this article and the numbers for the BCSPCA and Conservation Officers.

One thing I will not do and that is swerve to avoid hiting an animal wether is be bear, deer cougar, racoons, rabits, squirrels etc. domestic animals such as dogs, cats or whatever, none are worth putting yourself  off the road. No animal is worth a human life.  I've hit two deer in my time.  One when I was doing only approx 30 MPH,  or 50Km.  Same with another one a few years later when I happen to glance to the side of the road for a split second and when my eyes were back on the road I hit the deer, no chance to brake.  First instance the deer died almost instantly.  Second time, RCMP were notified and put the animal out of its misery. I've had a couple of other close calls, but only brake straight forward, no swerving. I found that best.

Depending on the vehicle you are driving and the animal you are going to hit.

If it is a Moose, Elk, Buffalo I advise you to try your best  to avoid. People have been severly injured and killed with a collision. In a car, small SUV/pick-up these animals will come over the hood and come through the windshield.

If you swerve and it still hits the side of your vehicle you can probably continue on. Hitting one head on your chances of driving away is not very likely. And you have a good chance of being injured or even killed.