DEP tells motorists: ‘Watch for deer and moose this fall’
Because fall is the breeding season for both white-tailed deer and moose, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Wildlife Division reminds motorists to be watchful of increased deer and moose activity, especially during early morning and evening hours. September through October is the peak of the breeding season for Connecticut’s small but expanding moose population in the northern part of the state. The breeding season (also known as “the rut”) for white-tailed deer closely follows the moose breeding season, running from late October through late December.
Be aware and heed “Deer Crossing” signs erected by highway departments. Motorists are advised to slow down and drive defensively should a deer or moose be spotted on or by the road. Because moose are darker in color and stand much higher than deer, observing reflective eyeshine 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 DEP enforcement officers at (860-424-3333).
“During 2009, approximately 11,400 deer were killed in the state due to collisions with vehicles,” said Rick Jacobson, Director of DEP’s Wildlife Division. “A total of 22 moose-vehicle accidents have been reported in Connecticut between 1995 and 2009, with an average of two per year since 2002,” continued Jacobson. “Moose-vehicle accidents are expected to increase as the moose population expands.”
Most of Connecticut is not considered ideal habitat for moose because the state’s landscape is fragmented, roadways have high traffic volume, and moose have large home ranges (approximately 10-15 square miles). Moose venturing into southern Connecticut, with high population density, road networks, and traffic volumes, pose an increased potential for human fatalities from accidents as compared to deer-vehicle accidents. Residents throughout the state are encouraged to report moose sightings on the DEP’s website at www.ct.gov/dep/hunting.