Evaluation of Roadside Activity and Behavior of Deer and Black Bear
Virginia is consistently among the top 10 states with the highest number of deer-vehicle collisions (DVCs), with more than 56,000 DVCs per year since 2007. The Virginia Department of Transportation has targeted a section of I-64 on and near Afton Mountain for safety and mobility improvements because of a high number of crashes and traffic stoppages. DVCs are a primary driver safety concern in the area, and vehicle collisions with black bears are also relatively frequent. Mitigation strategies are needed to address this issue.
The purpose of this study was to evaluate white-tailed deer activity and behavior along (1) an interstate roadside adjacent to unfenced isolated underpasses used by deer and (2) a stream corridor / highway intersection with no viable underpass for deer. Although not a primary focus, black bear and other wildlife activity was also evaluated. Two years of camera data and animal carcass removal data were analyzed to gain a better understanding of deer and black bear activity and behavior relative to the two road and landscape features.