New York DEC Warns Motorists to be Alert for Moose in the Adirondacks

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Motorists should be especially alert for moose on roadways in the Adirondacks and surrounding areas at this time of year, warns the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).

Early fall is the breeding season for moose in northern New York. During this time moose are wandering looking for mates, leading them to areas where they are not typically seen. While this improves the opportunities for people to enjoy sighting of a moose, it also increases the danger of colliding with one on the roadway.

Moose are much larger and taller than deer. Their large body causes greater damage, and, when struck, their height often causes them to impact the windshield of a car or pickup truck, not just the front of the vehicle. In 2010, three moose vehicle accidents were reported in New York. Fortunately, there has not been a human fatality from an accident with a moose.

Moose are most active at dawn and dusk, which are times of poor visibility. Moose are especially difficult to see at night because of their dark brown to black coloring and their height - which puts their head and much of their body above vehicle headlights.

DEC advises motorists to take the following precautions to prevent moose vehicle collisions:

  • Use extreme caution when driving at dawn or dusk, especially during this time of year;
  • Reduce your speed, stay alert, and watch the roadsides;
  • Slow down when approaching moose standing near the roadside, as they may bolt at the last minute when a car comes closer, often running into the road;
  • Moose may travel in pairs or small groups, so if a moose is spotted crossing the road, be alert for others that may follow;
  • Make sure all vehicle occupants wear seatbelts and children are properly restrained in child safety seats;
  • Use flashers or a headlight signal to warn other drivers when moose are spotted near the road;
  • Motorcyclists should be especially alert for moose;
  • If a moose does run in front of your vehicle, brake firmly but do not swerve. Swerving can cause a vehicle-vehicle collision or cause the vehicle to hit a fixed object such as a tree or pole;
  • If a moose is hit and killed by a vehicle, the motorist should not remove the animal. The Environmental Conservation Law allows a motorist to keep a moose, but only following an on-scene police investigation, and issuance of a permit to possess the dead moose.

DEC continues to work with the New York State Department of Transportation to identify areas where moose are present along roads and have warning signs placed in those more populated areas. DEC estimates that New York has a population of 500-800 moose, but the moose population appears to be growing. Over the past couple of decades, the moose population has mainly increased through moose entering the state from Vermont and Canada. Now, the increase in population is mainly due to the birth of moose calves here in New York.

For more information on moose in New York State, visit the DEC website. This also offers a link to a photo gallery of moose in New York.


groovy mike's picture

Thanks for keeping us up to date ! Let's hope for lots of moose!


I would hate to hit a moose while driving but I love the fact that New York state now has enough moose to be worried about collisions during the moose rut.  Moose are either moving back into New York State after a long absence or they have been extremely rare if they managed to hide for a hundred years.  As the article said the in-state moose population is now growing because moose that wander in from Vermont and Canada have decided to stay and are now New York resident moose that breed and raise calves inside of the state. This is a wonderful development.  Without hunting pressure I would hope that every breeding age cow successfully raises a calf every year.  If there are 800 moose in New York and 400 of them are cows, then hopefully next year there will be 1200 moose in the state and 1800 the following year.  That rate of population increase would mean over 9,000 New York state moose within another 5 years and over 13,000 moose in six years.  If left unchecked and there was enough habitat etc. there would be 69,000 moose in New York state by 2021 – that’s only ten years away!  I doubt they would expand to anywhere near that level but over 10,000 moose with a sustainable hunting program is a definite possibility. 


Yes there will be moose car collisions sooner or later – I hope no one is hurt, but I hope that the moose population continues to rapidly grow and that God willing there will also someday be moose hunting in New York State.


Like Colorado, neighboring Vermont State provides large warning signs that alert drivers to the possible appearance of moose in the road.  I hadn’t heard that Indiana had the laser-like beams parallel to the road.  That’s a neat idea.  Here in New York they piloted a reflector program that created a ‘laser fence’ with reflectors when headlights approached supposedly keeping wildlife from breaking the beam and stay out of the roadways.  It was stupidly expensive – something like $10,000 per mile. 


I think a saner solution is for folks to just be aware of the danger and drive responsibly.  Slow down and be alert especially at night.  A few seconds literally makes the difference between life and death sometimes.  This is especially true when you are driving faster than is safe.  But any time that you can create more time to avoid danger and more space to stop it is a good idea.  Driving a little slower does that for you and the roads of the Adirondack North Country are not really intended for high speed travel anyway!


Let's make room for the moose and start a New York State moose hunting season soon!


Retired2hunt's picture

  This is the same situation


This is the same situation here in colorado during the moose rut.  Unfortunately there has already been a car accident with a death in the state.  Colorado provides large flashing warning signs that alert drivers to the possible appearance of wildlife on the roads.  I like what Indiana does with a laser beam that runs parrallel to the road.  when an animal breaks the laser beam it sets off the flashing alert signs in the area to the possible wildlife in the roadways.  Probably expensive to install and maintain.  Bottom line all drivers in moose populated areas must drive with caution as these are not deer but far larger animals that will far greater damage and possible disaster.


numbnutz's picture

This is great advice to

This is great advice to drivers. I'd hate to hit a moose while driving that would cause some damage for sure. Its like in my area, we have to look out for elk while driving. day time isnt bad but at night going through a mountain road at higher speed can be deadly if you hit a moose or an elk. Also a good idea to keep the kids in the back seast a belted in. I'd hate to have an animal of that size come through the wind sheild and sit in my lat that wouldn't feel very good.