Watch for migrating elk south of Jackson
by Wyoming Game & Fish Department
November 18, 2018
The Wyoming Game and Fish Department and Wyoming Department of Transportation are asking motorists to be especially alert for wildlife when traveling through the construction zone on Wyoming Highway 89 south of Jackson. Construction crews are building a wildlife-proof fence designed to force wildlife to use established underpasses to safely cross under the highway, but the fence is currently not complete and some animals, primarily elk, are finding their way into the highway right-of-way and they may not easily find one of the openings allowing them back out.
Mobile electronic signs have been placed at both ends of the construction zone warning motorists to be alert for animals on the highway. Also, personnel from both the Wyoming Game and Fish and Wyoming Highway Patrol have been doing their best to help elk out of the right-of-way whenever possible, but motorists are asked to be especially careful in this area for the next few weeks while elk are migrating to their wintering areas.
"The fence and crossing structures are all new for the migrating elk this fall and until the fence is complete and functioning properly, we’re all going to have to work together to try and avoid collisions with wildlife," said South Jackson Game Warden Kyle Lash.
When complete, likely next spring, the fence will force animals to safely cross by using the underpasses. And for the few animals that do find their way into the highway right-of-way, there will be wildlife "jumps" installed in the fenceline that allow animals to jump from a ledge out of the right-of-way, but not back in. "It will likely be a bit of a learning process for the animals for a year or two," said Lash. "But as they figure out the safe crossings, it’s going to be a great thing for wildlife, and motorists."