Four elk killed as herd gets too close to I-215 and I-80

Feb 1, 2023, 9:30 PM | Updated: 9:33 pm
A herd of elk ended up on the roadways near I-80 and Foothill Boulevard on Thursday, Jan 26, 2023. ...
A herd of elk ended up on the roadways near I-80 and Foothill Boulevard on Thursday, Jan 26, 2023. Photo credit: Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.

SALT LAKE CITY — A herd of elk made their presence known Wednesday morning on the east side of Salt Lake City.

The Utah Department of Transportation had to close portions of I-215 (along the east bench) and I-80 (entry into Parleys Canyon) for about 30 minutes as a result of the wildlife. Two elk were struck by vehicles and killed, and two others were injured after being struck. However, the two injured elk had to be euthanized later. 


Scott Root, outreach manager for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, joined Jeff Caplan’s Afternoon News on Wednesday to discuss the situation. 

“It’s a tragedy,” Root said. “And we just want to remind the motorists, please be careful. It’s really hard to stop in time, if you’re on an interstate when you’ve got a big elk right there in front of you.”

Are these areas the herd of elk travel through regularly?

Caplan asked, “We’ve had a few incidents on the East Bench in the past couple of days alone. Do these elk normally travel through these same areas all season?”

“We’ve had some kind of drought years and milder winters,” Root said. “This has been a pretty snowy winter and very cold winter. And that’s kind of what got the elk to actually come not only lower but actually worked their way into some urban areas.”

Caplan asked what can be done to get the elk away from the highway?

Root says its a delicate and complex situation. He says roughly 60 elk have crossed Foothill Drive. He says they are currently hanging out on the Salt Lake Country Club Golf Course. 

“The country club has been good work with us,” Root said. “They’re just hanging out, the elk are.”

Warmer temperatures should help

Root says the DWR is hoping for some warmer temperatures to melt some of the snow off the vegetation. He says once that happens the elk will naturally begin to head back up into the mountains. 

“It could be any time,” he said. 

Root is hopeful that once the elk begin to go back up, the DWR, the Utah Department of Transportation and the Utah Highway Patrol will have enough time to make it safe for motorists and the elk.

“It’s a very difficult situation,” Root said. “Elk go where they want to go.”

Root says nighttime hours are especially dangerous.

“They are more active at night, actually,” he said. “So, that even makes it more tough on the highways. You got to keep your eyes open and look at the sides of the road because they’re more active at night. And it’s hard to see them.”


Jeff Caplan’s Afternoon News can be heard on weekdays from 3 to 7 p.m.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories


Brine Shrimp...
Ben McGonnell

Brine shrimp officially named Utah’s state crustacean

SALT LAKE CITY — Governor Cox signed legislation naming the brine shrimp as Utah’s state crustacean. Specifically, the small crustaceans known as brine shrimp inhabit the salty waters of the Great Salt Lake. Brine Shrimp eggs or ‘cysts’ are harvested by private companies and used as food for fish and commercially grown shrimp. The harvesting […]
24 hours ago
Elk Relocation...
Ben McGonnell

Elk relocation and sections of I-80 closure

To facilitate Elk Relocation, Utah DWR plans to coax 80 elk from Salt Lake City golf course and across the highway.
2 days ago
cougar sighting...
Curt Gresseth

Year-round cougar hunting in Utah? Those for and against sound off

Should it be open season on cougars in Utah? A state lawmaker explains why his bill is needed to thin the population of mountain lions, but a spokesman for the Western Wildlife Conservancy says the legislation addresses a problem that doesn't exist.
11 days ago
Wilson's Phalaropes and flamingos at Laguna Mar Chiquita. (Photo: Yanina Druetta)...
Aimee Van Tatenhove, Utah Public Radio

Ambitious initiatives and shorebirds connect two saline lakes hemispheres apart

As saline lakes continue to shrink globally, environmental protections are critical for these threatened ecosystems.
11 days ago
a cougar is pictured, hunting a cougar could change with a new law...
Carter Williams

Group calls for Cox to veto Utah bill that opens door for year-round cougar hunting

The cougar hunting bill also calls for a study of pre-charged pneumatic air rifles in hunting, among other changes.
13 days ago
The Utah Divisioin of Wildlife Resources is asking anglers to help with the removal of specific fis...
Mark Jones

DWR asking Utah anglers to target three waterbodies, remove specific fish

The DWR is asking anglers to consider three waterbodies on their next fishing trip to help with the removal of specific fish.
14 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Cheerful young woman writing an assignment while sitting at desk between two classmates during clas...
BYU EMBA at the Marriott School of Business

Hear it Firsthand: 6 Students Share Their Executive MBA Experience at BYU’s Marriott School of Business

The Executive MBA program at BYU offers great opportunities. Hear experiences straight from students enrolled in the program.
Skier being towed by a rider on a horse. Skijoring....
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking for a new winter activity? Try skijoring in Bear Lake

Skijoring is when someone on skis is pulled by a horse, dog, animal, or motor vehicle. The driver leads the skiers through an obstacle course over jumps, hoops, and gates.
Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five common causes of Cervical Cancer – and what you can do to lower your risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get ready for fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy.
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...

15 easy Christmas dinner ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Four elk killed as herd gets too close to I-215 and I-80