October 22, 2018

Moose Population Up Car Collisions Down in Maine? I Don’t Think So

Maine’s Portland Press Herald is reporting that Maine’s moose population is up and car collisions with moose are down. “Good news for moose: The overall population is up, but the number of car-moose collisions is trending down.”

The link the Herald provides to substantiate the increase in the moose population is a mostly outdated piece and is being misrepresented in this recent article about moose population increases. To claim a moose population as being up mostly based on an increase in allotted moose permits for this year’s hunt is inaccurate. Newer information provided by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) tells us that biologists have discovered that the number of deadly moose ticks is directly proportional to the number of moose. An increase in moose permits will continue to lower the moose population, in return lowering the tick population.

But if you don’t want to believe any of this information then understand that it doesn’t take that many brains to know that the number of moose have been on the decline for some time. Where 10 to 15 years ago moose numbers were getting to be a nuisance, now it is back to seldom seeing a moose in many places that had become common. This may not hold true in prime moose country but overall the state has a considerably reduced population of moose…and thus, the reason for the decrease in car collisions with moose.

“Kantar says long-term crash data indicate the number of collisions is down “significantly” over the last 15 to 20 years.

“There isn’t a specific reason why that may be, he said…”

Maybe there is no “specific” reason but the main reason has to be a reduced population of moose, not an increase. New signage in certain places and I’ll even give the benefit of the doubt that driver education may be contributing to fewer collisions, but these changes may be only insignificantly limiting moose collisions.

MDIFW is on the right track to continue reducing the moose population to mitigate the needless suffering of moose from the deadly winter tick. In turn, fewer moose means healthier moose which also translates into fewer collisions.

Share

Confusing Moose Crash Information

Statistics Prove that Statistics Sometimes Don’t Prove Anything

Either Maine has more moose or fewer moose and more car crashes with moose or fewer crashes with moose. Or, maybe there’s both or all of the above all at once…or none of the above.

A recent article written for the Online version of the Portland Press Herald, in the title, states that the moose herd has declined and so have the number of vehicle collisions with moose. The article begins by stating that these collisions have dropped “in part because of efforts by state officials to alert drivers to the danger of the crashes.”

Then we are told that three Wildlife Management Districts (WMD) will not be allotted any Moose Permits this Saturday during the Lottery Drawing, “where a dramatic decrease in moose-vehicle collisions indicates a drop in the region’s moose herd.” Evidently the DOT doesn’t work to educate drivers in these WMDs about the dangers of colliding with a moose? And is the fish and wildlife department now using vehicle collisions to determine moose populations?

Maine’s moose expert, Lee Kantar, says in the early 2000s methods used to estimate moose populations weren’t as good as they are today. Because of the constant changes in methods of estimating, it’s impossible to make any honest comparisons as to increases or decreases in moose and vehicle collisions and the causes for reductions or increases. We shouldn’t kid ourselves. All we really know is the number of collisions. That’s easy data to collect.

What’s confusing is that this report says that the Maine moose population “is between 60,000 and 70,000, down from 76,000 in 2013.” I have serious doubts about these numbers. At one time, during debate about how to manage Maine’s moose, some members of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) estimated Maine’s moose population to run around 90,000. About all that boots on the ground tells us is that moose numbers are way down – from how many is anyone’s guess.

But the information continues to be confusing. Kantar says there are “probably less moose” and then cites, “moose populations in midcoast and southern Maine are thin.” If we go by the numbers given, statewide there has been a reduction of 6,000 moose since 2013. How much of that reduction then comes from these three WMDs? Perhaps all of it as Kantar states, “the moose population appears to be thriving there [Aroostook County].” He says that the moose population in the northern counties has remained “stable.” Stable? I thought it was “thriving.” What’s also confusing is that he says moose in the southern part of the state are diminishing because of the winter tick problem. Huh? There are no winter ticks in the northern tier of the state? Or is it because MDIFW has data due to the ongoing moose study in the northern tier of the state while they continue to guess about what’s going on in the south?

Confusing!

So, let’s not take just Lee Kantar’s word for what’s going on. Ted Talbot, MDOT, says that, “despite installation of new forms of reflectors along Aroostook County’s main roads, crashes still occur frequently because there are more moose in the region.” Is the population “stable” or is it “thriving?”

This report states that according to Law Enforcement in Aroostook County, “there are still plenty of moose to avoid on the roads.”

Even though this report says that moose collisions in Aroostook County have “dropped to 129 last year, from 247 in 2007,” Madawaska Police say, “traffic accidents seem to be just as much a problem.” Are we to then assume that the efforts at warning drivers about moose is a waste of time and money?

So, what’s the point of all this? People should know by now that colliding your vehicle into a moose can be a very dangerous thing. If you live in Maine, you should always expect any animal is going to step into your path and you should be prepared. But, it’s bound to happen.

It appears as though the number of collisions with moose has decreased. That’s a good thing, unless moose numbers continue to decline to a point where there are no collisions and thus might tell us that the moose herd is in serious jeopardy. As far as what has caused the decline in moose collisions, this report isn’t really that much help and the information from MDIFW, DOT and law enforcement only confuses the issue.

All of this just makes me wonder a lot of things about media reliability and the accuracy of information being given by fish and wildlife, DOT and law enforcement. Maybe all their information is just too political and therefore makes no sense at all.

 

Share

See where motorist vs. moose crashes happened in 2016

In looking at the map, included in this link, isn’t it odd that moose/automobile collisions happened where people drive? The other question I have is this: The report says that the 305 reported moose collisions with autos, is down from the previous year’s tally of 327. Is this decrease in proportion to the believed reduction in moose due to winter ticks? Or have drivers and/or moose gotten more careless?

Where’s your government?

Share

12 Deer Killed by Vehicles in Allagash, Maine

The St. John Valley Times is reporting that with an early arrival of deer to wintering areas, 12 deer have been hit and killed by vehicles.<<<Read More>>>

Allagash
DeerHarvestAllagash

Share

Moose Just Aren’t Whistling Dixie

Here we go again! Someone must be promoting deer/moose whistles for cars that are advertised as a way to keep these big animals from crossing the road in front of us while driving our cars. The whistles mount on the front of a car or any vehicle and claims are it makes a whistling noise. Note: I don’t know if it actually whistles or not. Crawling out on the hood of the car at 60 miles per hour, the wind was rushing past my ears and making such a loud noise I couldn’t hear if the whistles were whistling.

Lee Kantar, Maine’s moose biologist, says they might make a noise but there’s no guarantee it will stop a deer or moose from running into the road confused by the noise.

But here’s a fact: I bought a used Subaru several years ago that had the whistles already mounted on the front bumper. To my knowledge the whistles had been on the car for several years before I bought the car (by the looks of the condition of them) and the car had not collided with a deer or moose. While I owned the car, it was never involved in a deer or moose collision, so the whistles must work. Right?

I have a bridge in New York I’m looking to sell. I’ll throw in a set of deer whistles for free to whoever sends the money for the bridge.

Share

Video: Deer “Falls” From Overpass, Strikes Car Below at 70 MPH

Share