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Monday, June 1, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Outdoors blog

Fence keeps elk off I-90 near Vantage, thanks to volunteers

a group of Colockum Wildlife Area elk stand by confused after one elk was tranquilized by a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife aerial gunner so it could be fitted a radio collar for research on the herd. (Washington Fish and Wildlife Department)
a group of Colockum Wildlife Area elk stand by confused after one elk was tranquilized by a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife aerial gunner so it could be fitted a radio collar for research on the herd. (Washington Fish and Wildlife Department)

WILDLIFE – Flagged electric fencing was re-installed last weekend along six miles of Interstate 90 near Vantage to deter elk from getting into traffic.

Mule Deer Foundation volunteers and staff from the state Fish and Wildlife and Transportation departments did the work.

About 80 wintering elk died last year after being struck by vehicles and at least six have been struck by cars so far this year,  the Daily Record of Ellensburg reports.

“This is an effort to minimize the elk kills, but also for human safety,” Winegart said. “Even for a semi it’s a bad day, but Jesus, for a passenger vehicle (it’s worse).”

The fence cannot physically stop the elk, she said. It is a visual barrier. There is a barbed wire fence that runs next to the interstate already. The new fencing is about three feet away and brightly colored flags present a visual barrier that tricks to elk into thinking it is too far to jump over both fences. It isn’t easy to pound the pegs into the frozen ground, though.

The elk come down from the Colockum area to the L.T. Murray Wildlife Area, their wintering grounds, Winegeart said. The herd is several thousands in size. The Department of Fish and Wildlife wants to keep the elk on the L.T. Murray, which is big enough for the herd, because the Yakima Training Center is south of the highway.



Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

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