Watch out for moose on Connecticut roads, state officials warn

Photo of Peter Yankowski
A moose runs loose across Woodway Country Club's golf course in Darien, Conn., Tuesday, June 5, 2007.

A moose runs loose across Woodway Country Club's golf course in Darien, Conn., Tuesday, June 5, 2007.

Kathleen O'Rourke / AP

Connecticut’s environmental protection agency is warning motorists to be on the lookout for moose on the road this spring, particularly during the early morning and evening hours.

The alert comes a little more than a week after three people were hospitalized after their car hit a pregnant moose in Goshen, killing the animal and its unborn calf.

During the months of May and June, moose and deer go through their birthing period, a press release from the state’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection said Tuesday.

It’s one of two times during the year in which moose become “highly active,” the release said, as last year’s offspring leave their mothers to find their own habitat. During the fall, moose and deer both go through a “rut,” or breeding season.

“A recent vehicle accident involving a moose in Goshen sent a driver and two passengers to the hospital,” said Andrew LaBonte, deer and moose biologist for the DEEP Wildlife Division, in a statement. “Moose sightings have recently been reported in the Storrs/Mansfield area, as well as in Ashford, and motorists are advised to drive with caution along Routes 32 and 44 and near Mirror Lake on Route 195.”

The agency said motorists should be aware of the extra animal activity in the spring and fall, and to “drive defensively” and slow down if they spot a large animal - including bear - on the road.

Earlier this month a black bear was also struck and killed by a driver along Route 202 in Litchfield, according to the agency.

Moose’ stature and dark coloring can make them harder for drivers to spot, since headlights won’t often reflect in their eyes. And because of that heigh, moose often hit a vehicle’s windshield when they are involved in a car accident, the release said.

“When checking the road for moose at night, look higher than you normally would for deer and reduce the speed of your vehicle,” it said.

According to Labonte, more than 40 moose-related motor vehicle accidents have been recorded in the state since 2002, with an average of two per year.

According to DEEP, most of the state is not considered prime real estate for moose because most of Connecticut is bisected by roadways or other features that break up the animal’s range. Moose need about 10 to 15 square miles to roam, the agency said.

Residents should report any accidents involving deer, moose or bear by calling state or local authorities, or contacting DEEP police at 860-424-3333. To report moose sightings, visit the agency’s website.