You may have seen moose sightings and postings on social media more than usual over the past month or two, and there’s a reason for this: it’s their mating season and they’re out searching for a partner. Find out why this could be dangerous for people, and what the always-reputable DEC advises us to do should we meet one of these fantastic animals when on the road.
Moose: They’re Massive, They’re Out & They Can be Hard to See
When moose are looking for a mate they can end up wandering to areas where they might not typically go. On the one hand, this improves the chances for us to enjoy moose sightings, but on the other, it also greatly increases the danger of colliding with these enormous creatures.
Motorists in particular need to be on the lookout. Although New York has no recorded human fatalities resulting from a crash with a moose, in 2019 the Journal of American College of Surgeons published a study citing that hitting a moose with your car is 13 times more likely to result in death than hitting a deer.
Moose are a lot bigger – and taller – than deer. They’re most active at dawn and dusk, which are times of poor visibility, and their height puts their head and most of their body above vehicle headlights.
How to Stay Safe on the Road in Moose Country
The DEC advises us to take the following precautions at this time:
- Use extreme caution when driving at dawn or dusk (especially in September/October)
- Reduce your speed, stay alert, and watch the roadsides
- Slow down when you see moose standing near the roadside; they may bolt into the road at the last minute as a car comes closer
- Moose travel in pairs, so if you see one, keep an eye out for others that may follow
- Make sure everyone in the vehicle is wearing seatbelts and children are properly restrained in child safety seats
- Use flashers or a headlight signal to warn other drivers when moose are spotted near the road
- Motorcyclists especially need to be on the alert
If a moose runs in front of your vehicle brake firmly but do not swerve. Swerving can cause a collision with a fixed object or another vehicle.
If a moose is hit and killed by a vehicle the motorist should not remove the animal unless a permit is obtained from the investigating officer at the scene of the crash.
Enjoy Wildlife Sightings From a Safe Distance
Moose sightings are exciting! But only when there’s a great deal of distance between the humans and wildlife. The DEC encourages outdoor enthusiasts like hikers and hunters to enjoy sightings of these Adirondack animals from a safe distance. Never approach wildlife, especially a species like moose or bear that could potentially be aggressive towards humans and/or protective of their young.