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Time change, mating season dangerous combo on Alberta highway – CalgarySEDI News

When the clocks are turned back an hour each November for daylight saving time, wildlife collisions increase dramatically. Studies show that daylight savings time is the most dangerous time of year for collisions.

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According to the Wildlife Collision Prevention Program, about 80 percent of wildlife-vehicle collisions involve deer, peaking in November.

Highway sign warning drivers.

Jill Croteau/Global News

This coincides with mating season and, according to naturalist Dave Klepacki, animals acting on biological urges means they pay less attention to traffic.

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“We have problems with humans, eye to eye, habit of changing time,” Klepacki said.

“It’s like a deer is at a teenage party and is completely focused on mating.”

He said their pattern coincided with rush hour.

Naturalist Dave Klepacki.

Jill Croteau/Global News

“Bucks are full of testosterone and they’re so focused on mating that they don’t have the sense of self and normal traffic concerns,” Klepacki said. “We lost about a dozen … that’s a lot of casualties when you have a mob of 100 people.”

Renee Delorme runs a volunteer group, Bragg Creek Wild. Each mating season, they place signs along the highway warning drivers to slow down.

“This is the highest accident period of the year where statistics go through the roof with the number of cars hitting wildlife.”

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Signing up with Delorme Highway.

Jill Croteau/Global News

She believes the number could be much higher.

“Not all animals are reported and counted when they are hit. Some disappear into the forest. “Every time I go to Calgary, I see a dead animal on the road — it’s quite often,” Delorme said.

“Highway maintenance crews average three to four carcasses per week along this stretch between Highway 1 and Bragg Creek, and in November, that’s double that.”

A photo of a dead deer in a ditch.

Courtesy: Renee Delorme

She has seen him from the front window of her house and captured video of nearby calls. She also photographs some of these deadly encounters with grim evidence.

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A dead deer lies on the side of the highway.

Courtesy: Renee Delorme

“It is absolutely sad and tragic. We live in one of the most beautiful, richest environments with a diversity of wildlife, and we have a responsibility to protect it,” Delorme said.

Gord McDonald is one of many people who have had wildlife encounters.

Gord McDonald.

Jill Croteau/Global News

Years ago, he hit a deer, destroying the front end of his vehicle and killing the deer.

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“She appeared right in front of me and I went to turn around and this doe was looking at me and headed my way and I hit her,” MacDonald said.

Photo of the damaged McDonald’s truck.

Courtesy: Gord McDonald

He repaired his truck, decided to slow down and get better headlights. He said drivers need to pay more attention instead of driving on auto-pilot.

“I started checking what I could have done differently. We have to maintain a level of awareness, scanning the pits and fields,” MacDonald said. “The price is too high. We need to be more conscious.”

Drivers are advised to slow down and obey signs and drive with high beams when possible.

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