Watch out for wildlife on roads

An elk was struck in the early morning hours of April 10, by a vehicle on Highway 18 across from the Slopes subdivision.

Fred Wickheim of Mainroad Contracting uses a hiab to lift the carcass of a dead elk off the road and onto a smaller truck driven by Todd Croteau. The elk will be taken to the bush where nature takes its course.

Fred Wickheim of Mainroad Contracting uses a hiab to lift the carcass of a dead elk off the road and onto a smaller truck driven by Todd Croteau. The elk will be taken to the bush where nature takes its course.

Keep your eyes open for elk, say Lake Cowichan RCMP. This reminder comes after an elk was struck in the early morning hours of April 10, by a vehicle on Highway 18 across from the Slopes subdivision. The animal was not killed on impact, and had to be put down by Lake Cowichan RCMP before it was taken away by Main Road South Island Contracting employees.

Sgt. Dave Voller says that locals need to remember to be aware of the animals, especially during the morning and evening hours and in the fall when it’s rutting season. “That’s not to say that every once in a while you don’t drive down the highway and see a great big bull standing off to the shoulder watching the traffic go by. You can’t let your guard down and go, ‘Oh yeah, it’s daytime they don’t come out during the day’.”

Voller stresses using the one plus one rule, “If you see one animal cross the road, think number two, especially if the animal is looking back over its shoulder. People fixate on the one animal that has already crossed and a number of times they run into problems with the second animal.”

Voller says that this is an ongoing issue, and is not just related to a rise in the population when tourists are visiting during the summer months. Residents need to be aware that there are a significant amount of Roosevelt elk that live in the Lake Cowichan area and on Vancouver Island in general. “There are herds of elk spread out all over,” says Voller.

Places to watch for the animals include along highway 18 across from the Duncan Meadows golf course, this side of the Hill 60 area, Nitinat, and Shaw Creek.