We are writing today, September 1st, and we are now leaving the summer months behind us and tackling autumn. All year round, there is a lot of wild movement around our roads and now that it starts to get dark earlier in the evenings, it can often become more difficult to spot what is moving on the side of the road. The statistics also say that the number of wildlife accidents increases during the autumn months. In 2022, there were almost 66 000 wildlife accidents with both personal and vehicle injuries as a result. If you were to have a wildlife accident, what applies and how should you act? We’ll try to figure that out here.
According to §40 of the Hunting Ordinance and §26 of the Hunting Act, you as a driver are obliged to make a police report and mark the place where the accident happened if the animal you collided with was a bear, deer, wolverine, loon, mouflon sheep, deer, otter, wolf, wild boar, elk, reindeer or eagle. You are obliged to make a police report even if the animal is not visibly injured. Failure to report a wildlife accident involving any of the above-mentioned animals is punishable and may result in a fine.
In the event of a collision with game other than those mentioned above, for example badgers and foxes, there is no formal obligation to notify the police. If the animal is injured and has to be euthanized or is positioned in a way that poses a danger to other road users, it is still good if you report the accident. In the event of a collision with a smaller animal, the other rule is that, if you can and have the opportunity, you should ensure that the animal is euthanized and moved from the roadway. Always consider your own safety and the safety of others.
In summary, you must act as follows if you have a wildlife accident;
– Call 112 and report the accident. State the location of the accident and the type of animal involved, as well as in which direction the animal has disappeared if it is not still at the scene.
– Mark the place where the accident occurred. If you don’t have special marking strips, you can take what is available and that can be seen well.
– Post a warning triangle 200 – 300 meters from the accident site. If possible, move your car to the roadside or a parking pocket. Turn on hazard lights.
– Should you collide with a bear, wolf or wild boar, you should increase the distance for marking the accident site up to 100 meters as these animals can become very aggressive when they are injured.
– Injured and killed game must be taken care of. However, you may not take a dead animal with you, it belongs to the landowner or in some cases the state.
– Never pursue or track an injured animal yourself. It is the Police’s responsibility to contact a hunter with special skills to track the animal.