After drivers hit 2 moose in a day, here's what you should know about moose in CT
A vehicle struck and killed a moose for the second time this week in Connecticut. In each case, the animal died and no human injuries were reported.
On Wednesday morning, a moose died following a collision with a vehicle on Route 15 in North Haven. Just hours later, a second moose was struck and killed on South Road on Route 179 in Hartland, near the Massachusetts border, according to a statement from state police. That moose was an approximately 550-pound male believed to be about 1 to 2 years old.
A third moose was hit and killed earlier this month, also in Hartland, officials said. That accident on May 10 involved no other injuries.
State officials said the two strikes in one day is about equal to the average number of moose strikes the state sees annually. The most ever recorded was six, officials said.
Right now, motorists need to be extra cautious when driving, said Andrew LaBonte, a wildlife biologist with the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.
“The one thing that's critical about this time of year, following the speed limits, following the laws that prohibit people from using their cell phones while driving,” LaBonte said.
Being aware of your surroundings and having time to react to a moose is your best protection against an animal strike, he said.
Moose pose the biggest risk to drivers in May and June as well as September and October.
Spring can increase the risk of collisions in Connecticut as young moose disperse to find new areas to occupy. The animals can be incredibly dangerous to drivers – standing more than 6 feet tall and growing to be as large as 1,400 pounds.
More about CT moose sightings
Moose sightings are happening more often in Connecticut. State environmental officials got a report of a moose sighting in 1984, followed by occasional sightings in the early 1990s. Those sightings increased through the ‘90s.
The first moose-vehicle accident in Connecticut happened in 1995. DEEP said that by 2007, the state was getting about 60 reports of sightings a year and had documented 19 collisions involving moose and vehicles.
“With a growing moose population in neighboring Massachusetts and the propensity for moose to disperse over long distances, it was only a matter of time before a resident moose population became established in Connecticut,” DEEP said on its website.
Technology vs. geography
But while people might be seeing more moose today due to doorbell cameras and other technology, LaBonte said moose populations don’t seem to be growing in the state.
“Similar to what's happening with the bear population in the state, going back 15-plus years ago, we thought we were going to see the same kind of thing trend with the moose population. But that hasn't been the case,” LaBonte said.
Part of the reason, he said, is geography: Connecticut is situated at the southern tip of the animal’s natural range. Another is climate change – moose don’t like warmer winters.
“They're obviously more of a northern species,” LaBonte said. “Even though we might, right now, be seeing more of them. We've actually, going back 10 years ago, saw even more.
“I think we're just kind of seeing a greater influx of them now, because we have more devices.”
Connecticut Public’s Eric Aasen and Patrick Skahill contributed to this report, which has been updated.