BANGOR – Wildlife is more active right now and that could pose a danger for drivers.
Maine has a dense wildlife population statewide but the state’s moose biologist said there is a higher chance of running into a moose in the north.
“When you get to eastern Aroostook County, towards Caribou and Presque Isle, those are the much more heavy hit areas,” said state Moose Biologist Lee Kantar.
Although people may be more likely to encounter a moose in the north, Kanter said the population statewide has been decreasing over the last 15 to 20 years.
“We really think that winter tick has been the biggest impact to our moose population,” he said.
And while the population declines, so does the data showing accidents involving moose.
A report by the Maine Department of Transportation showed that from 2012 to 2016, crashes involving moose have gone down. Kantar also credited the decrease to the work done by Maine DOT.
“Harden the side of the road and make it so the moose doesn’t want to cross the road there … They’ve done all kinds of lighting and signage,” said Kantar.
While the moose population is dropping, the deer population is rising.
“In general we’ve had some pretty mild winters of late, which has helped,” said Nathan Bieber, deer biologist at the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
Data from the same Maine DOT report showed that accidents involving deer have gone up. Bieber said roads create an easy way to travel and offer different types of vegetation.
“Deer have a pretty diverse diet and they like to mix it up,” said Bieber.
Kantar and Bieber both said collisions can be prevented by paying attention, especially when driving at night, and if people see signs saying there are moose and deer crossings in the area, they should slow down and be more aware of their surroundings.