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DEEP warns motorists to watch out for deer and moose

White-tailed deer. (Credit: Paul J. Fusco/CT DEEP/Wildlife)

HARTFORD – Connecticut officials are warning drivers to be on higher alert as the breeding seasons for deer and moose ramp up.

The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection says motorists should be extra careful during the early morning and evening hours.

Officials say September through October is the peak of breeding season (also called ‘the rut’) for small moose, while the breeding season for white-tailed deer runs from late October through late December.

The department says drivers should heed “deer crossing” signs; those signs have been placed where multiple animals have been struck.

Jenny Dickson, director of the environmental agency’s wildlife division, says more than 3,600 deer were killed in vehicle collisions across the state last year. She says more than 40 moose-vehicle accidents were reported in Connecticut between 1995 and this year.

Most of Connecticut is not ideal moose habitat because the state’s landscape is  too fragmented and roads to busy for their large home ranges (10-15 sq. miles).  But any moose venturing into the state pose a higher risk of human fatalities compared to deer. Moose are much larger, and often end up hitting the windshield. Moose are also harder to see at night because they are darker in color, and because their eyes are too high up to reflect most headlights and create ‘eyeshine’.

Residents throughout the state are encouraged to report moose sightings on the DEEP website at www.ct.gov/deep/wildlife.

All moose and deer vehicle collisions should be reported to local, state, or DEEP Environmental Conservation Police Officers (24-hour DEEP Dispatch Center — 860-424-3333).

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