Alces alces americana


Moose are big, wonderful to look at, and dangerous. Although vegetarians, moose are a big danger to pedestrians and vehicles. The bumper sticker, brake for moose is not a joke. Braking really can save your life. This page will teach you how to be safe around moose.

Moose and Vehicle Safety

Commonwealth of Massachusetts - Division of Fisheries and Wildlife

MassWildlife Media Advisory MOOSE ALERT - 6/29/99

    In the wake of recent automobile collisions with moose, MassWildlife biologists are reminding Bay State motorists to be alert for moose on highways. "Moose are huge animals, weighing from 400 to 900 pounds," states MassWildlife Deer Project Leader Dr. John McDonald, "and are responsible for multiple human fatalities in northern New England every year. Cars are no match for an adult moose, and because the animal's legs are so long, a collision usually sends the moose crashing down on the roof and onto the occupants."

    To compound the problem, moose have a thick coat of dark hair making them difficult to see at night and often stand their ground, even when faced with an oncoming car, truck or train. Collisions with vehicles are the greatest cause of mortality for Massachusetts' growing moose population, now estimated at around 300 animals. At least 7 moose have been killed by vehicles in Massachusetts this year alone.

    State highway signs warning drivers of moose along Route 2 were not enough to prevent a recent collision near Gardner. The driver of a compact car was injured and lucky to escape with his life when he struck an adult female moose, sending the animal over the car with enough force to tear the roof off. In a bizarre twist, State Troopers responding to the accident noticed a moose calf emerging from the deceased adult and made an impromptu delivery. The calf was taken to an area veterinarian and then transferred to the Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine. MassWildlife has made arrangements for permanent placement of the calf with the Acadia Zoo in Trenton, Maine.

    "The calf delivery was another first for Massachusetts," notes McDonald, "We know we have a growing moose population but this was a traumatic way for a moose to enter the world. Under normal circumstances if you see a moose calf it's a good idea to head the other way. The adult females are very aggressive in protecting their young and can kill a person if they feel their calf is threatened."

    The most important messages to come out of the Gardner incident remain: Drive defensively, particularly at night, and know that a moose can appear in front of you at any time and potentially on any roadway. One in every 50 moose/vehicle collisions results in a human fatality, a statistic that may include Massachusetts sometime soon.

Contact Dr. John McDonald at MassWildlife in Westboro 508.792.7270 x121 MassWildlife Field Headquarters, Westboro, MA 01581

Tel. (508) 792-7270, Fax (508) 792-7275


MassWildlife News Commonwealth of Massachusetts - Division of Fisheries and Wildlife Wayne F. MacCallum, Director 

Contact: Bill Davis - Phone: (508) 792-7270 ext. 153, Fax: (508) 792-7275

(09/22/99, #12)

The breeding season for moose in Massachusetts has arrived and MassWildlife biologists are expecting calls concerning moose on roadways, in backyards and in urban areas. "This is the time of year when bull moose are actively pursuing females," reports MassWildlife's Deer and Moose Project Leader Dr. John McDonald. "The bulls are wandering and using their keen sense of smell to key-in on receptive females. Once they locate a cow moose in heat they'll pursue her until they can breed or until they're driven away by a larger bull. If there's a road separating a bull from a receptive cow, the bull won't care if there's a Moped or a Mack truck coming along, he's going to cross. The threat of moose/vehicle collisions peaks at this time of year."

Massachusetts has had 12 moose/vehicle collisions so far in 1999, equaling any previous years' high. Over the past 10 years, MassWildlife has recorded more than 100 mortalities among the state's resident moose population, the majority resulting from collisions.

McDonald recommends a healthy dose of caution and respect for anyone encountering a moose this fall. "Be alert for moose while driving our major highways, and slow down, particularly at night. If you see a moose, get off the gas, keep control of your car and try to steer around the problem."

People on foot are urged to leave moose alone. "The bulls are unpredictable at best and the cows can be very protective of their calves," McDonald advises. "If you're hiking, hunting, or just walking the dog in your local park and encounter a moose, don't approach it. Keep dogs under your control and move out of the area. The worst thing you can do is pursue the animal and we caution local police departments and the public on this regularly. Pursuit not only stresses the animal but it adds the risk of having a moose chased out into traffic or into a group of bystanders." The breeding season will last through October, after which moose will seek out feeding areas in preparation for winter.

For more information contact Dr. John McDonald 508. 792.7270 x121. End

From Masswildlife Press Release 10-8-01

One in 5,000 deer/vehicle collisions results in a human fatality, while the statistic for moose/vehicle collisions is a sobering one human fatality for every 300 - 500 accidents. Maine documented 2,126 crashes involving moose from 1996 through 1998 with 6 human fatalities, 637 human injuries and an estimated economic impact of more than $50 million. As both the Massachusetts moose and human populations continue to rise, the frequency of crashes involving moose in the Bay State will only increase. Drivers are reminded to heed the moose crossing signs and to be aware of the possible presence of moose on virtually all of Massachusetts' highways. For more information, contact Bill Woytek, 508.792.7270 x121.

Moose Policy in Maine Under Review
Fri Aug 22,11:45 AM ET

AUGUSTA, Maine - With moose-car collisions on the rise, Maine's Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is looking at whether to revamp its policy for managing the continent's biggest game animal.

A group of Maine residents asked Commissioner Roland "Danny" Martin to consider new measures after four people died this year from collisions with moose on Maine roads, the deadliest year since 1998.

Martin told members of his advisory council Thursday that he may consider reconvening the group that drafted the moose management policy three years ago.

"We want to look and see if what we thought back in 1999 is still valid," Martin said. Residents gave Martin a petition, signed by 3,000 people, at a public forum in Madawaska last week supporting increased moose control.

Meeting-goers demanded that the risk to their families and friends be reduced and suggested solutions ranging from an open moose hunt to marking moose with fluorescent ear tags.

The current policy in northern Maine strives for a balance between recreational viewing, hunting and safety.

Maine is believed to have around 30,000 moose total. Hunters kill between 2,000 to 3,000 each fall, and the sport is a multimillion dollar business that supports the economy of many northern Maine towns.

In northeastern Maine's wildlife districts, which encompass all the primary Aroostook County roads between Danforth and Fort Kent, current policy calls for reducing the moose population by a third, said Sandy Ritchie, a state wildlife resources planner.

Last year, 687 moose collisions were reported on Maine's highways, with two fatalities. The increase in accidents and fatalities is attributed to the cold, wet spring and late-breaking summer, which enticed more moose from the woods to the roadside where they escape bugs and munch on salty plants.

Moose Resources

Massachusetts Wildlife No.4, 1999 has an excellent issue on Moose. Article contains information on biology, habits and their place in the ecosystem. You can obtain copies of the Massachusetts Wildlife at the Massachusetts Div. of Fisheries and Wildlife.

Audobon Magazine Nov-Dec 1999 p. 24 Notes that moose in Central Canada suffer with ticks each year. In 1998 the ticks were so bad that biologist Dan Strickland is expecting a major die off. Ticks become so numerous and so bothersome that moose will actually scratch so hard against trees that their hair comes off. Blood loss and poor winter diet combine for a lethal combination.



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