Skip to comments.Moose-Vehicle Collisions at ‘Crisis’ Level
Posted on 02/05/2012 3:19:27 PM PST by nickcarraway
Deep snows and blizzard-like conditions have combined to create a "moose emergency" in Southcentral.
The group tasked with recovering moose hit by vehicles on local roads, Alaska Moose Federation, was rolling almost non-stop Thursday and Friday, responding to at least 15 collisions in 20 hours.
"We had one truck with two moose on it," AMF Executive Director Gary Olson said. "Literally, a bull was hit in Eagle River on a curve, then a cow was hit by another car. They were (loaded) on the truck and we delivered them to a local church."
Just a week after taking over as the point organization for retrieving moose hit by vehicles in the Valley, the federation's five Mat-Su-based trucks have been busy, Olson said. Along with two trucks serving the Anchorage area, the group's volunteers were running ragged between Talkeetna and Eagle River.
"We have a blizzard going on in Anchorage right now, and this is the emergency situation we were worried about," Olson said early Friday afternoon. "These moose are absolutely all over the roads."
An average winter sees Alaska State Troopers respond to about 270 moose-vehicle collisions, while so far this year at least 336 have been hit in the Valley, according to AMF and state Department of Fish and Game reports. That tally is most likely more, said acting area game manager Tim Peltier, but an updated count was not complete by press time.
Troopers have a set list of charities and organizations that receive road kill moose. AMF's role is as intermediary, Olson said. Instead of each individual charity picking up the carcasses, federation volunteers retrieve and deliver them to the charities on the troopers' list.
And those volunteers have been tested so far, Olson said. "They're rock stars," he said. "We have one guy, every time he lays his head down he gets another call. We're shifting volunteers and running around like crazy. There is a crisis going on and we need to make sure everyone is aware of how bad this is." Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Chugiak received the two moose Olson cited from that one incident, said Jim Sampson, a church member and volunteer. As one of the troopers' recognized charities, the church used to have to respond itself to recover moose.
Having AMF deliver the animals saves time and makes it easier for the church to process them, he said, adding the meat goes to the local community food bank.
"This is ideal," he said. "We've been doing this for quite a few years and you can imagine what it's like at 2 in the morning in a driving snowstorm trying to (recover) a moose. To have them pick them up and bring them here is great. The safety factor increases all-around."
Improved safety and recovery times are what makes the retrieval program attractive to AST, said Lt. Tom Dunn, who acts as liaison between the troopers and AMF.
"The theory behind the AMF is definitely sound," he said. "We now have one organization that's qualified to respond and take the moose to where it can be processed safely, without any other injury occurring."
At an average estimated cost of about $35,000 in vehicle damage and response cost per moose collision, Olson said the past 24 hours alone have cost drivers and responding agencies about $500,000.
"A couple of those in Willow were from the railroad corridor, but even 13 vehicle collisions is bad, and it's not going to get better," Olson said.
He urges drivers to be extra cautions and make sure their windows are clear and field of view unimpeded.
"These moose are on the roads, and looking at the snow we're getting right now, there's going to be more," he said.
This needs a ping — it has Not A Ping to its name....
The speed limits are too high and people go too fast. It is very dark all winter, people need to slow down.
We have a lot of car/deer collisions in my part of the country but deer just don’t do quite the same damage.
My aunt bought a new car this fall and hit a deer with it before she even got it home. Then she turned around and hit another one the next day with it.
Some people my daughter knows in the next town over encountered a moose in the highway about ten years ago. They were driving a VW bug. They managed to stop before running into it, but evidently the moose got mad at them, because it walked up and sat on their car. Squashed in the roof.
What does your aunt have against deer?
You’ve heard, I’m sure, in the Deer World...this is considered “Suicide by Car”.
That reminds me of "good ole boy politics USA" that's been going on since before I was born. A large town anywhere in the U.S. has 5 service stations that own wreckers, but all the law enforcement, including state police call the very same _$$_ole wrecker owner for all the accidents in the area; who also happens to charge the very highest price. I'm sure in this case though, there may not be a wrecker available within 100 miles.
I've driven on some roads in Canada where the posted speed limit is 80 KPH or 48 MPH. After seeing a moose cow and her offspring coming right for us after coming around a curve, I understand why they have the limit. If I had been doing 70mph or 80mph like many Americands do, it may have been a really close call..
Bagging a deer with your vehicle is a way of life in Michigan. Cheaper than ammo, and you get to bring the venison home on the vehicle you nailed the deer with. Have plenty of dents and smashed grilles to prove this premise.
At least these moose won’t bite any more sisters.
Driving on a lonely Idaho road last summer I spotted a dark place in the dark ahead and swerved just in time to miss a big antlered feller. So close I clipped him with my right wing mirror (it would be my right wing mirror, wouldn't it?) He's out there now...looking for me...
And She LIVED to Drive Another Day! (the driver)
The following pictures are of a moose that went through a car’s windshield and out the rear window near South River, Ontario. The VERY lucky woman driver ended up with just a broken wrist and needing a good bath. When you view the pictures you will wonder how the woman managed to survive. This is not an isolated incident either!
In our part of NC we’ve had an unusually high number of deer/vehicle collisions, locally known as Al Queda terrorist sucicide deer. My MIL seems to be a magnet for them - about once a year since we’ve lived here.
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