By James Brower, Regional Communications Manager Monday, February 3, 2020 – 2:36 PM MST
On the morning of Feb. 3 the Fish and Game office in Idaho Falls received a report from railroad employees regarding a train collision with a herd of pronghorn north of Hamer. About 45 pronghorn were reported killed by the collision and another 19 were severely injured and had to be dispatched by F&G staff. There are no reports of any human injury.
Conservation Officers and other staff have responded to the scene to salvage any edible meat and dispatch the injured animals. Any edible meat will be distributed to needy families and food banks throughout the region.
“We have had these sad situations happen before during big snow events,” says Curtis Hendricks Wildlife Manager for the region. “These pronghorn are unable to cross the freeway fence as they migrate west and unfortunately they ended up on the tracks where the snow isn’t as deep.”
Animals unwilling to cross Interstate 15 in the area often congregate on the plowed railroad tracks that are in close proximity and parallel the freeway. Fish and Game identifies Interstate 15 as a likely impediment to east-west big game migration between traditional winter and summer ranges.
Pronghorn are built for speed and often choose to duck under fences rather than jumping over them.
Note: this story has been updated and numbers revised after initial reports.