Maine DOT, sheriff warn motorists to 'beware of moose'

By Greg Grisolano, Land Line staff writer | 8/6/2013

Five crashes in four days involving drivers and moose throughout Franklin County have the Maine Department of Transportation and the local sheriff’s department warning drivers to be alert.

The crashes occurred over a four-day period from July 26-29 in the northwestern county, which borders the Canadian province of Quebec. The collisions with moose happened on Route 27 in Wyman Township, Route 4 in Sandy River Plantation, Route 16 in Coplin Plantation, and Route 4 in Rangeley, according to sheriff’s department Lt. David Rackliffe. No injuries were reported in the collisions.

“We do, on a fairly regular basis, see trucking issues with moose,” Rackliffe said in a phone interview with Land Line. “Typically those involve trucks going back and forth to the Canadian border on Route 27 between Stratton and the Coburn Gore. None of the last five have resulted in serious injuries, but we’ve certainly seen those in the past.”

Rackliffe said most motor vehicle crashes with moose lead to extensive motor vehicle damage and frequently the death of the moose. He encouraged drivers to use caution and give full attention to driving and wear their seat belt.

“It applies to all of them, and commercial vehicle drivers are generally more attentive to the road, but put your full focus on the task of driving,” Rackliffe said. “Be especially cautious of the early morning and dusk hours into late night. That’s typically when moose are more active.”

This is the second warning issued in 2013 to alert motorists of increased danger from wildlife. Rackliffe said Franklin County has seen an increase in collisions with deer as well as moose.

“It’s early for the rut,” he said. “Typically the roads travel through some very remote areas. The construction of the roads creates some natural bogs, which are natural moose-feeding areas. They come out there for two reasons: to eat and to get some relief from the bugs, which are thicker in the woods.”

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