HAMER — More than 60 pronghorn were hit by a train Feb. 3 north of Hamer, according to Idaho Fish and Game officials. And it wasn't the first time a herd of animals has been hit by a train.
About 45 pronghorn were killed and 19 were “severely injured and had to be dispatched by F and G staff,” according to a Fish and Game news release. No humans were hurt.
“We have had these sad situations happen before during big snow events,” Curtis Hendricks, wildlife manager for the region, said in a news release. “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.”
Staff responded to the scene to salvage any edible meat and kill any injured animals, the agency said. The meat will go to “needy families and food banks throughout the region.”
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Last January, a herd of elk was hit by a train between Montpelier and Soda Springs, according to a previous news release. Thirty-one elk were killed.
A year before that, 47 antelope were killed near Dietrich, and in 2004, 58 deer were hit and killed in the same area, according to the Idaho State Journal.
“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,” the news release said. “Fish and Game identifies Interstate 15 as a likely impediment to east-west big game migration between traditional winter and summer ranges.”