A: You are in Maine, on a road.
|Photo: Paloma Bohanan|
Whenever we drive in moose territory, we half-joke at the warning signs and scour the roadsides for moose, particularly in and near wetlands. Prior to our visit to Bridgewater, Maine last weekend, our reward for all this effort had been a sighting of the tail end of a moose entering the forest (and fleeing a crowd of gawkers) in Algonquin and the disturbing view of a freshly killed moose splayed out over a guard rail near Glen, New Hampshire.
We only half joke about the warning signs, of course, because we know that the threat of collision is real, especially at night. Deep down, we dreaded the possibility that our first real encounter might be calamitous. We were therefore very pleased to have our first good view of a moose in a roadside pond between Van Buren and Caribou, Maine last weekend. (Our hotel clerk assures us there are no caribou in Maine, by the way.) Paloma was able to snap several photos of this lovely girl as she scrounged the bottom of the pond for edible muck. According to the most recent Maine DOT's dot map of collisions with moose or deer, the highway was the site of one or more such crashes per mile along this stretch between 2005 and 2007.
The dot map is part of MDOT's most recent moose-safety poster, which also includes the choropleth map below. Whereas the dot map shows that the greatest density of moose collisions is in south-central Maine, the choropleth map is normalized for traffic flow, and indicates that the risk per mile driven is far higher in Aroostook County. The poster is one of many educational and statistical products available on MDOT's safety page, which is entirely devoted to vehicle-animal crashes.
|MDOT: Click to Enlarge|
|Maine Wildlife Gallery|