Driving to work early the other morning, I came within inches of hitting a bull elk who decided, at the last minute, to run across the highway right in front of me. Fortunately no one else was on that lonely stretch of road at the time, for if I hadn’t stomped on the brakes and cranked the wheel to the left, we would probably both be dead. I saw up close and personal how hitting an animal as large as that could do lethal damage. But the experience did not change my attitude on whether migratory wildlife should be considered a road hazard.
There’s no doubting the fact that we humans—in our full metal jacketed projectiles, lumbering headlong 60 mph through the former wilderness—are the real hazards. We’re the ones breaking nature’s rules by inventing machines that can go so fast they can put an end to anyone they run into. But, we drive like we’re saying, “We have important places to go—everyone else beware or be damned! No lowly animal better get in our way!”
If this incident had proven fatal for us, I would have wanted my epitaph to read: “I’m sorry beautiful creature. There’s nowhere I had to be that was worth the risk of ending your precious life.”