DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Drivers travel across the state of Ohio on major highways every day to get from one point to another for their daily commutes. At the same time, Ohio wildlife is curious to discover what is around them, as they travel looking for food, water or even friends.

What happens when animals happen to become curious and travel on the roadway?

2 NEWS spoke with Ohio Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) Public Information Officer Mandi Dillon about how the department reacts when animals are discovered on the side of the road.

Removal of Dead Animals

Animals that make the wrong decision to get into the way of oncoming traffic usually become subject to injury or death on the road. To combat the incident, after the animal is dead, ODOT works diligently to make sure the animals are out of sight and into the woods for the process of nature to take over away from the public eye.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) works with ODOT on occasion. ODNR helps assist in deer harvesting, which allows crews to test for any sort of disease the animal may have had at the time of death.

Deer Interactions On The Rise

The statistical information obtained by 2 NEWS shows ODOT handled a lot of calls to respond to pick up the dead deer. Since at least 2018, ODOT reports an increase of responding to retrieve deer carcasses from across the state.

In 2018, crews responded and retrieved a total of 12,095 deer carcasses. Additional numbers recorded by ODOT during recent years have continued to show the trend in the state.

YearNumber of Deer Carcasses
Collected Across Ohio
(ODOT Statistics)

Wildlife, especially deer, can make themselves visible on the road at any place or time. Highways including I-75, I-275, I-675 I-70, I-71, I-74, US 35 and a variety of others have places along the roadway where there are trees and a wooded environment directly next to the roadway.

Keep Yourself Safe

In April, a new distracted driving law went into effect for drivers throughout the state. Dillon says you should minimize all distractions you may have around yourself while driving and to keep aware of your surroundings at all times.

“Drivers need to remain alert at all times and put down any distractions behind the wheel,” Dillon said. “Also, be aware of time that deer may be moving more frequently, such as sunrise and dusk.”

Just because you can’t see the animals nearby doesn’t necessarily mean they’re not there.

Report It

If you are driving on the roadways across Ohio and come across a dead animal, you are encouraged to contact the local city or county road maintenance facility you find the animal in after driving to a secure location to where you can make a call. You are also able to give Ohio’s road maintenance facility a phone call as well for removal.

ODOT says it normally takes up to 48 hours for crews to complete the removal of the dead animal can take up to 48 hours.