DEEP: Driv­ers watch for deer, moose

The Middletown Press (Middletown, CT) - - NEWS - STAFF RE­PORTS

The state Depart­ment of En­ergy and En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion is re­mind­ing mo­torists to be watch­ful of in­creased deer and moose ac­tiv­ity along road­ways, es­pe­cially dur­ing early morn­ing and evening hours.

Mo­torists should be aware and heed “deer cross­ing” signs along state high­ways, DEEP’s Wildlife Di­vi­sion said in a re­lease. Driv­ers are also ad­vised to slow down and drive de­fen­sively should a deer or moose be spot­ted on or by the road.

Fur­ther, fall is the peak of the breed­ing sea­son for Con­necti­cut’s moose pop­u­la­tion in the northern part of the state. The breed­ing sea­son for white­tailed deer runs from late Oc­to­ber through late De­cem­ber, ac­cord­ing to the re­lease.

Since moose are darker in color and stand much higher than deer, ob­serv­ing re­flec­tive eye-shine from head­lights is in­fre­quent and, when struck, moose of­ten end up im­pact­ing the wind­shield of ve­hi­cles. All moose and deer ve­hi­cle col­li­sions should be re­ported to lo­cal, state or DEEP En­vi­ron­men­tal Con­ser­va­tion po­lice of­fi­cers , of­fi­cials said.

“Dur­ing 2016, ap­prox­i­mately 3,700 deer were killed in the state due to col­li­sions with ve­hi­cles,” said Rick Jacobson, di­rec­tor of the DEEP Wildlife Di­vi­sion, in the re­lease. “Over 40 moose-ve­hi­cle ac­ci­dents have been re­ported in Con­necti­cut be­tween 1995 and 2016, with an av­er­age of two per year since 2002. Two moose-ve­hi­cle ac­ci­dents have al­ready oc­curred this past Septem­ber. It is be­lieved that one of the moose trav­eled from Stafford to Es­sex over a five­day pe­riod be­fore be­ing struck by a mo­torist.”

While most of Con­necti­cut is not con­sid­ered an ideal habi­tat for moose, the an­i­mals ven­tur­ing into south­ern Con­necti­cut pose an in­creased po­ten­tial for hu­man fa­tal­i­ties from ac­ci­dents as com­pared to deer-ve­hi­cle ac­ci­dents due to high pop­u­la­tion den­sity, road net­works and traffic volumes, wildlife of­fi­cials said. Res­i­dents through­out the state are en­cour­aged to re­port moose sight­ings on the DEEP web­site at www.ct.gov/deep/wildlife.

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