Birds are prevalent along the Boise River and it always has us looking on the water or in the sky while jogging or walking. Take another long look. You may see a big guy like this in a thicket on the edge of the river.

It’s surprising, but there’s a significant herd of year-round urban mule deer and white-tailed deer in the Treasure Valley. Add the number of big-game animals that migrate from the mountains to the cities for food in winter, and the numbers grow. It is estimated that 5,000 to 7,000 mule deer and 1,200 elk winter on the Boise River Wildlife Management Area each year and some of them will wander into the city limits.

While it’s fun spotting these critters in parks, neighborhoods and along greenbelts, it’s also a wake up call to drive safely especially at night and on icy roads in winter. Warm Springs Avenue, Highway 21 and ParkCenter Boulevard are just a few of the busy roadways in the valley where deer may suddenly jump out onto the road. In one of the highest road-kill years, 2011, more than 5,000 deer, elk and moose were killed by cars on Idaho’s roads.

Pete has been writing about the outdoors in Idaho and the Northwest for decades and decades. Give him a shout at pete@getoutdoorsnorthwest.com.

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