Watch above: motorists are being warned, the moose ‘rut’ is about to begin
SASKATOON – Highway driving this time of year can be deadly, keeping your eyes peeled for moose is important as they are on the move.
That’s because the rut is starting. Moose are looking for pairs and are more mobile, which can mean more collisions on Saskatchewan roads.
A moose was hit 22 km west of Lanigan on Highway 16 last week.
“Moose are dangerous at any time of year at any month, there is a real possibility of striking a moose but certainly in the next month there’s going to be a specially high risk,” said Ryan Brook, an assistant professor at the University of Saskatchewan College of Agriculture/Bio-resources.
Brook has been tracking the movements of female moose for over a year-and-a-half. What his research has found is all animals he’s monitoring tend to be more active in the spring and fall.
“We have seen a couple of handfuls of locations of animals crossing Highway 11 but it’s quite uncommon actually for those, so that’s why we want to extend the study this winter and put collars on adult males and see what they’re doing,” said Brook.
SGI has been keeping track of moose collision claims since November 2012. So far this year, there have been 243; last year there were over 530 total. In 2013, there were 4 fatal collisions involving wildlife.
“We would just caution drivers to stay alert, slow down, especially watch for those yellow reflective wildlife warning signs and if you see those reduce your speed a little bit and constantly scan the road ahead of you. If you do see wildlife, if you see one there’s more that follow, said SGI Communications Manager Kelley Brinkworth.
Dusk and dawn are typically the highest risk periods for collisions with moose. The animals are generally most active at those times and light levels are low, affecting a drivers visibility.
Brook’s study is to result in a predictive model of moose movement to help pinpoint where collisions are most likely to occur.