Tracking wildlife carcasses removed by WSDOT maintenance staff

Learn about the wildlife carcass removal database and how to request information on wildlife mortalities on Washington state highways. The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) monitors carcass removals to reduce wildlife deaths and improve highway safety. 

Wildlife carcass removal database

This database stores data about wildlife carcasses (primarily deer and elk) removed from state highways by WSDOT maintenance crews and by citizens under the deer and elk salvage law. These data help with project planning and identifying wildlife collision problem areas.

Requesting carcass removal data

To request carcass removal data, contact Kelly McAllister, Fish and Wildlife Biologist, Kelly.McAllister@wsdot.wa.gov.

Federal law protects transportation agencies from liability associated with the collection of data needed to improve the safety of highways. This includes wildlife collision data. Requestors of carcass removal data will be asked to review information on the legal issues and limitations of these data prior to having their request filled.

Uses for the data

These data help identify the most important locations for fencing and crossing structures to reduce wildlife mortalities and improve highway safety. The statewide habitat connectivity analysis provides additional information to identify important wildlife movement corridors where animals are crossing highways successfully and collisions avoided.

Map of deer and elk collision problem areas in Washington state. Click image for a larger map.

See An Analysis of Deer- and Elk-Vehicle Collision Sites along State Highways in Washington State for an example of research using carcass removal data.

Accuracy of the data

The carcass removal data are not a complete record of collisions.

  • Animals sometimes survive a collision or expire outside of the road right-of-way.
  • Other agencies (like the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife) may pick up carcasses and not report them to WSDOT. Sometimes, citizens salvage deer or elk and fail to submit an online report.
  • The accuracy of collision locations varies. Maintenance staff are encouraged to report locations to the nearest tenth of a mile but locations can be rounded to the nearest half or whole milepost.

Reducing the risk of wildlife collisions

Visit our Reducing the risk of wildlife collisions page to find out more about wildlife-vehicle collisions and what WSDOT is doing to reduce the risks of wildlife mortality on Washington state highways.