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WOODS ‘N’ WATER: Four long legs upon busy paved roads

WOODS ‘N’ WATER: Four long legs upon busy paved roads


“I brake for moose!”

This is a bumper sticker that is quite common in our more northern New England states. Will we be seeing it in Connecticut soon? Only time will tell.

Deer/ vehicle collisions here in Connecticut are no longer big news because they happen quite frequently. And then it was the black bear that were and still are making headlines here in Connecticut.

And then we had a wandering cougar that made its way all the way form South Dakota to Connecticut only to have its life ended on one of our heavily traveled roads.

Now we have a couple of moose both killed by vehicles in the same day here in Connecticut. Don’t these wild critters know that they are supposed to stay in the wild and not around human populations? I guess not.

The most unusual and good thing about the recent moose/vehicle incidents is that both times the drivers were apparently uninjured and were able to drive away from the accident scene. That I itself is a miracle.

But what is going on with all of these wild critters coming into contact with the human population? Could it be that there are too many for a state the size of Connecticut? Hasn’t anyone told them about birth control?

According to material supplied by the DEEP, it is unclear if moose were ever native to Connecticut. There are no records of archeological deposits and no mention of them in historic accounts. If moose were native to Connecticut, they probably existed in such low numbers.

The Connecticut Board of Fish & Game (before they became the DEEP Wildlife Division) had received limited reports of moose being seen in the early 1900s and through the 1930s. It wasn’t until 1956, thanks to a photo taken by an Ashford resident, that moose were recorded as existing in Connecticut.

In 1984, a number of moose sightings were reported, and subsequent years began to show a slight increase that averaged six sightings per year. This was mostly in the northern portions of the state.

The report stated that with a growing moose population in Massachusetts, and the likelihood of moose dispersing over long distances, it was only a matter of tine before Connecticut had its own moose population.

Although some of the information we have only goes back to the mid-2000s, even back then the Wildlife Division was receiving about 60 sighting reports a year and had documented 19 moose/vehicle collisions. At that time the moose population here in Connecticut was estimated to be just over 100.

The DEEP Wildlife Division also says that that the moose present a serious safety hazard for Connecticut motorists, and from the look of things, that seems to be increasing.

In some of my trips into northern New England, I have had the opportunity to see moose up close and personal both during the daylight and at night.

I have also seen accounts of the results of a vehicle/moose incident and, for the most part, they were disastrous. In a couple of them, the moose’s long legs allowed the vehicle’s hood to sort of slide under the moose’s body and then it did its damage when it hit the windshield.

Data collected from other states indicate that a moose/car collision is 30 times more likely to result in human death than a deer/vehicle collision. On the average, one out of 50 moose/car collisions results in a human fatality.

The DEEP says that moose can present a serious threat to public safety under some circumstances. Although they are usually shy, moose can feel threatened and become aggressive during the rutting season or after having their calves.

Under no circumstances should moose be approached, even though they might appear to be docile.

An average moose can eat 40 to 50 pounds of food — buds, twigs and leaves from a variety of shrubs and trees, including birch, maple and cherry. In the spring of the year, they may be found foraging for aquatic plants in wetlands.

Moose can live up to their mid-20s, but are susceptible to parasites, disease, malnutrition and, in populated areas, collisions with motor vehicles. In northern New England, regulated hunting seasons by special permit occur in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.

The first sighting of a moose with calves in Connecticut was reported in 2000 in Hartland. Between 2000 and 2007, at least 40 calves were born in the state, and one would have assume that the numbers are still growing, just like the black bear population.

I, for one, do not envy the DEEP Wildlife Division, which has the task of managing our wildlife resources with a legislature that refuses to give them the tools to do their job properly.

And for those who keep saying, “Let nature take its course,” does having wild critters dies horrible deaths from diseases and starvation sound more humane? Me? Even though I am a hunter, I brake for all wildlife, regardless of size or species. Do you?

New bass limit

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission has made a slot limit for bass of 28-to-31 inches in length effective May 26. This means all striped bass less than 28 inches and greater than 31 inches must be released back to the water unharmed.

If you have questions, you may e-mail deep.marine.fisheries@ct.gov or call 860-434-6043 and leave a voice mail.

River race off

Dan Pelletier, the director of the QRWA Annual Canoe Race, cancelled this year’s race last Sunday because of hazards that were presented on the river by the storm the previous day.

This is the first time in memory that the race had to be cancelled. Better safe than sorry.

Duck race

The Meriden Lions Club’s annual Duck Race will be held Sunday, June 4 on the Meriden Green from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The Duck Race will feature music, food and a car show. The race offers some great prizes.

See ya’ and God Bless America and watch over our troops, police, firefighters and first responders wherever they may be serving this great country of ours.