Skip to comments.Danger on the highway with moose on loose
Posted on 07/14/2008 9:10:25 PM PDT by mdittmar
Two fatal highway collisions with moose in recent weeks serve as a frightening reminder of the dangers of driving in this province.
On June 30, a 58-year-old male was killed on Route 8 in Lavillette when his vehicle struck a moose. Just a day later, a 66-year-old female died after hitting a moose near Duff Lake on Highway 11 in Atholville.
Dwayne Sabine, a fish and wildlife biologist with the Department of Natural Resources, said moose are moving around a lot this time of year so it's important to be on the lookout.
"They can be on the road any time of year but June tends to be the peak month to the end of July," he said.
Mr. Sabine explained that during the winter season, moose tend to graze on twigs and branches in the forest but when spring hits, they venture to green vegetation. In May, he said the vegetation tends to green quicker in ditches and winter salt used on the roads is also attractive to moose.
"There's a bit of attraction to salt, particularly for cow moose when they are producing milk for their calves. Along the road sides, of course you'll get a higher salt concentration in the ditches than any where in the wild."
Mr. Sabine also noted the possibility of moose wanting to escape from black flies and mosquitos.
"The idea being that they'll go to an open area where there's a fair bit of wind will help keep the flies down. This is the time of year when the flies tend to get quite thick."
Mr. Sabine said those factors basically translate into the moose population moving around more than they would in the winter time.
"During the winter, the snow has them limited and they're not moving around very much. But when spring come,s all of a sudden they go anywhere they want and they tend to move around a lot more...The more the moose is moving around, the higher the probability that sooner or later they're going to be crossing the road."
Mr. Sabine said extreme heat can drive the moose back to the woods in an effort to seek shade. However, when it gets cooler in the fall, the moose venture towards open areas again.
Mr. Sabine notes that the moose population in New Brunswick is about 26,000. He said Restigouche County and Charlotte County in the southern tip of the province tend to have the highest moose population.
"It's the areas where there's a lot of farming and people that tend to have the least amount of moose...Conditions in the north of the province are quite prime for moose and the south is a bit different habitat but the key there is there's a lot of lakes and whatnot and there's a lot of important food sources in lakes. (In the north there's) lot of swamps but also lots of clear cuts and the key thing is (lack of) deer."
He said normally just want to cross the road to get to another point but in some cases the moose will stay on the road if the animal is confused or sick.
Mr. Sabine said the key for avoiding moose is to avoid driving at night. He said because moose are a dark colour, they are hard to spot and due to their height, they're eyes won't reflect in a vehicle's headlights, the same way a deer will.
"Deer will look at the light and we see them because they're eyes reflect the light...Moose will do the same and they're eyes are also reflective but the problem is they're so much taller and are above where our headlight beams shine."
Mr. Sabine said another problem when a vehicle approaches a moose, is that the moose will sometimes freeze because the animal is trying to figure out what's coming towards them.
"They're not used to the idea that something will be moving as fast as a vehicle is."
Mr. Sabine said if you do require to drive at night, keep your eyes peeled to both sides of the road and reduce your speed.
"There's been studies done...and what they find is anything above 70 to 80 kilometres an hour, your braking distance is longer than your visual distance on the moose. So it's physically impossible to stop in time if it happens to be in the middle of the road."
Concluded Mr. Sabine: "You can't always avoid driving at night but I do tend to drive a lot slower than I do in the daytime. That's really all you can do is just be aware and keep your eyes out."
My spidey senses are tingling. Something tells me this thread will not be inundated with sympathetic posts. Unless the moose is the recipient.
So, even moose get that "deer-in-the-headlights" look?
A moose once bit my sister.
I knew it. It was just a matter of time.
They should fit all Moose with reflective vests. Then they would be visible.
Technically it's a "moose-in-the-headlights" look; but its essentially the same thing.
I was barreling down one of the dirt roads probably 40 mph in N Maine Woods area, had one dart out of the trees, run close next to my truck for a few seconds, and dart back into the woods. Scared the **** out of me. At that range, driving a mini truck, they are so tall, all you can see is rib cage. Sometimes when they see a vehicle, they lose their minds.
Another time, followed one down the road at about 30 mph. Their legs are so long, they trot at that speed with ease. It looks like they're not trying. Never saw a moose gallop, but they are good trotters.
Another news incident, one crossed a nearby highway, totaled a car, and got up and ran into the woods before it collapsed and died.
Another time, I was bicycling on a Spring day. A 300-pound calf crossed in front of me. Thought nothing of it. Then the Momma came out of the woods, 700 lbs. or so, zeroed straight on me. They have notoriously bad eyesight, so she probably thought I was the calf. That was a few scary seconds, she was maybe 70 yards away before she figured out I wasn't her baby, and veered off.
Man, I drove all over Yellowstone and 1/2 of western Alberta trying to just get a glimpse of a moose and didn’t see a single one.
I remember a few years back someone in Spokane found one in their swimming pool.
In one of the Maine sanctuaries, they acted tame and it was easy to get close to them, feeding on water weeds in the lake.
It is unbelievable how HUGE a mature bull is. 8 feet at the shoulder. In other words, they'd have to punch their head through an 8-foot ceiling of a standard ranch house to stand up. And, also hilarious to watch them scoop their head into the water for a bite of water weeds, come up and let a gallon of water drool from their mouth, and munch down.
Mynd you, moose bites kan be pretti nasti.
I am sick of Mooses eating my cheese
That will likely clog the pool filter.
I wonder if the moose bit anybodys sister yet.
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