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Fish and Game Asks Southcentral Drivers to Watch Out for Moose

Published On: Nov 27 2013 02:52:46 PM AKST
Fish and Game Asks Southcentral Drivers to Watch Out for Moose

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is asking drivers in Southcentral Alaska to slow down and watch out for moose, with winter raising the likelihood of car-moose collisions.

According to a Wednesday statement from Fish and Game, about 150 moose a year are killed by vehicles in the Municipality of Anchorage, with 280 dying annually in the Mat-Su Valley and another 250 on the Kenai Peninsula. Most of those deaths occur in December, January and February, when high snow and concentrations of forage make moose more likely to travel on or near cleared roads.

“Moose movements around roadways are unpredictable; animals can dart suddenly across lanes, cross and double back, or appear seemingly from out of nowhere,” officials wrote.

Fish and Game’s Anchorage area biologist, Jessy Coltrane, confirms the recent spike in reports of injured moose, which follows the familiar annual upswing.

“We’ve seen more calls in the last month, which is pretty typical since it’s so dark,” Coltrane said.

While car-moose crashes pose a risk to drivers and their vehicles, Coltrane says Fish and Game’s involvement often begins in their wake.

“We usually don’t get called on a collision, we get called on the aftermath,” Coltrane said. “If we get called to a moose with a broken leg, 90 percent of the time it’s caused by a car.”

According to Coltrane, Fish and Game has responded to about one or two injured moose per week, with calls about moose on the rise but officials sometimes receiving multiple calls about the same moose.

Fish and Game offers drivers the following tips to help avoid vehicle-moose collisions:

•         Reduce your driving speed on highways and when visibility on the sides of the road is restricted.
•         Deliberately and continuously scan for wildlife on both sides of the road and along road corridors and medians.
•         Increase the distance between you and the car in front of you to allow for greater braking distances and reaction time.
•         Watch for signs marking known moose crossing areas and be especially alert for a few miles before and beyond those areas.
•         Watch for flickering in the headlights of oncoming traffic that may be caused by an animal crossing in front of that vehicle.
•         Cow moose crossing or standing near roads are often accompanied by calves, so reduce speed when moose are spotted and look for additional animals that may be crossing behind the first.