Tooele deer deaths driven upward

TOOELE, Utah – Mule deer are a common sight in Tooele, but wildlife officers say an alarming number are ending up as roadkill.

Utah Division of Wildlife Resources Biologist Tom Becker says they’ve picked up more than twice the number of deer off Tooele roadways this winter.

“I’m picking up probably one to two a day,” says Becker. “That’s a lot of deer when you look at a week, two weeks.”

Becker says a heavy winter is at least partially to blame. Longer cold snaps and more snow pushes deer toward more populated areas and across busy roads, looking for food.

“This is a statewide issue,” says Becker. “I brought it up in Tooele because it’s where I live, and it’s what I see on a day to day basis. I’d hate to see anybody get hurt.”

Tooele residents don’t want to see anyone get hurt either, people or deer.  Anthony Summer says he’s cleared more than 20 deer from in front of his house, and he’s fed up.

“I watch them everyday,” says Summer. “I take pictures of them, and follow them through the mountains and find their sheds. I’m passionate about the deer.”

Summer and his wife are putting up signs along SR 36, a stretch marked as a hot spot by DWR. They hope it will remind drivers to slow down, and be mindful of those furry pedestrians.

“All my deer are getting killed,” says Summer. “I like to just watch out for them.”

DWR launched a website last year to help motorists become more aware of deer crossing. www.watchfordeerutah.com offers defensive driving tips, as well as what wildlife are the most prone road crossing.

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