The stretch of Wyoming Highway 120 near Meeteetse where an “elk massacre” happened when a pickup plowed into a herd is known to be treacherous for drivers and wild animals.
“There ain’t no one isolated spot (where animals cross the highway). It’s kind of bad all through that entire area,” Lyle Lamb, Wyoming Department of Transportation District 5 maintenance engineer, told Cowboy State Daily on Tuesday.
‘No Chance Of Missing Them’
At least four elk were killed at about 7 a.m. Sunday on the Cody side of the Burlington Road intersection with Highway 120 when a heavy-duty Ram pickup plowed into a herd that was crossing the road, he said.
There might have been as many as seven elk killed, but the truck’s driver was uninjured, Lamb said. The pickup, which was either a ¾-ton or 1-ton model, was likely totaled.
“There were at least four dead elk that I saw them drag off the road. I and I think Game and Fish might have had to euthanize some more that were injured,” Lamb said.
He added that he didn’t know the exact details of the accident, but apparently the driver was in a situation where the collision was all but unavoidable.
“He came around a corner where there were guardrails on both sides, and the elk were there — from guardrail to guardrail — so there has no chance of missing them,” Lamb said.
On a social media post about the incident, another WYDOT employee described it as the “Sunday morning elk massacre.”
Bad Stretch Of Road
That stretch of highway is known to be bad for wildlife collisions because of the abundance of critters in the area that can spring across the road at any given time, Lamb said.
There has been some talk of a wildlife crossing or crossings there, but for now it’s not on the short list for such projects, he added.
WYDOT, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and other agencies and cooperators have several new or ongoing wildlife crossing projects across Wyoming, Lamb said.
Most recently, there was a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the $15 million Dry Piney Wildlife Crossing, a series of underpasses between La Barge and Big Piney.
Mark Heinz can be reached at email@example.com.