Biologists with the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection need to determine whether the state's moose population is big enough to pose a traffic hazard which could lead to control measures including a hunting season to reduce the herd.
BARKHAMSTED, Conn. -- State biologists are trying to find a female moose to get a better handle on how many of the big beasts are roaming Connecticut.
Biologists with the state Department of Environmental Protection need to determine whether the state's moose population is big enough to pose a traffic hazard which could lead to control measures including a hunting season to reduce the herd.
The state has six computer chip-embedded collars equipped with global positioning systems and other gear that it wants to place on female moose, known as cows. The state wants to collar females because they are better barometers of the population.
Andrew Labonte, a wildlife technician at the DEP's Franklin office, said data collected by the collars will reveal location, whether the moose are standing or sitting and weather conditions.
Data will form the basis of a regional study about habitat, range and use of the landscape to better manage and understand the population.
The female moose is out there somewhere, said DEP biologist Howard Kilpatrick. But the animals, which prefer swamps and low-lying areas, are hiding very well.
"Now we are hoping for an opportunity over the summer," Kilpatrick said. "Now, finding them will be a random, opportunistic event."
The population, which has been put at more than 100, is increasing as calves are born here. But experts said it is far less than the thousands that roam the states of Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire, which have designated hunting seasons.
In New Canaan earlier this month a woman was injured when her car struck a moose on the Merritt Parkway in New Canaan. A young bull moose was apparently struck and killed by a vehicle as it grazed near Interstate 395 in Thompson on June 1.
A bull moose had to be shot in September after colliding with a pickup on Route 181 in Barkhamsted. Another died when it was hit by a hit-and-run driver last July on Route 272 near the Torrington-Goshen line.
Officials also say a yearling was struck and killed in April just north of Winsted on Route 8 and a car struck a moose along Route 63 near Route 43 in Cornwall about a month ago. No one was hurt but the moose had to be euthanized.
Information from: Republican-American, http://www.rep-am.com
Source: Associated Press