Do wolves scare deer away from roads?

Deer collisions with vehicles dropped an average of 24% in Wisconsin counties where wolf populations have returned. Researchers believe the gray wolves (Canis lupus) created a “landscape of fear” that kept the white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) away from roads. Predation likely only accounted for a 6% reduction, they found, suggesting that the effect of wolves was greater than hunters could replicate by reducing deer numbers. The drop equated to an estimated $10.9 million in savings statewide, researchers found, compared to $3 million spent over the last 35 years to compensate for wolf damages.

Read more from Science News here, and read the study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


Header Image: A deer crosses a road in Greendale, Wisconsin. Credit: Ken Mattison