Moose and safety

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A recent letter to the editor by David Boyd raised a concern that the possible success in court of the moose class action against the government of Newfoundland and Labrador would result in the elimination of moose from the island (“The perils of blaming moose,” Dec. 19).

The writer feared that government “will have no choice but to eliminate the moose, as once the legal precedent has been set, the financial burden of every future collision will be placed upon the taxpayers of the province.”

As a recently retired wildlife conservation officer, I believe I am in a position to speak to the proper place of moose in our province.  And having suffered a spinal cord injury in a collision with a moose on Oct. 8, 2006, I am in a position to say something about the moose lawsuit spearheaded by lawyer Ches Crosbie.

I recently told the story of my life before and after the moose collision that changed my life forever, and outlined my views on moose in “Into the Mist: A New Dawn, A New Day” (DRC Publishing).

Before anyone suggests I must not have been paying attention to my driving or was speeding and the collision was therefore my fault, let them read my account in “Into the Mist.”

As I state in my book, 120,000 to 130,000 moose on the island is an absurdly high number.

Perhaps 80,000 animals would be more reasonable.

First, I do not call for extermination of moose.

They are a valuable resource.

But the province should reduce moose numbers to around 80,000 and bring hunting success ratios in line with the national average.

This reduction in moose numbers would by itself have a significant impact in lowering collision rates, while maintaining a viable hunt.

Second, the province should apply fencing to prevent access to roadways in areas where moose densities and collision frequencies are high.

Third, brush-cutting programs should be continued and expanded.

Fourth, when a nuisance animal is identified, an officer from an appropriate department should be sent to dispatch the animal and remove the imminent danger of intrusion onto the highway.

Reasonable measures

Government need not eliminate moose in order to eliminate the possibility of future lawsuits.

To prevent future lawsuits, government only has to take reasonable measures such as population reduction and fencing, which have proven effective in many other jurisdictions in North America.

The peril of not blaming moose — and the provincial authorities responsible for them — is that the toll of unnecessary carnage on our highways will continue.

My life was changed forever in 2006. Your life could be next.

 

Brent Cole writes from Whitbourne.

Organizations: DRC Publishing

Geographic location: North America, Whitbourne

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Recent comments

  • H Jefford
    January 05, 2014 - 11:42

    Why should we the people of NFLD pay a large amount of money for a moose accident, because the Government supposedly brought them into the province? Anybody in a moose accident should be covered under their vehicle insurance. Who brought in the horses, cows, sheep, dogs? They, too, can cause accidents. This is only a large legal money grab and it's us, the people in the long run who will pay for this.

  • Bernt
    January 03, 2014 - 20:47

    Very well said Sir. Thank you for your service and I am sorry you have to live with a physical disability. You recommendations are a good start to reducing moose veh accidents. Before I retired I drove daily from CBS to St. Johns and back as well from my work location to CBS several times during the day or night and over 20 years I have seen no more than half a dozen moose on the TCH, Manuels Access, Foxtrap Access Rd while travelling although every morning on the radio there would be alerts as to moose on the highway. I wonder did people just call in to radio stations just to call in. In saying this there were several moose veh collisions so I do know they were on the road but with the amount of vehicular traffic on these highways vs collisions not as much as one would think. No doubt there is an abundance of moose, but fly over our Island and really grasp the vast wilderness here. I believe there is a greater risk of being in an accident with an inattentive driver than a moose. Today I drive from CBS to Blaketown and have for 10 years on average 1-2 times a month and have only seen 3 moose. This tells me they are there and I am missing them or they are not on the road as much as Mr Crosbie would like everyone to think.

  • red
    January 03, 2014 - 14:00

    @Brad Banff National Park has had fencing for years and it has cut down on collisions tremendously. They have overpasses and underpasses to allow the animals to cross and they work very well.

  • Brad
    January 03, 2014 - 12:41

    The only jurisdiction in Canada that has fencing is New Brunswick...and right now they are broke. Fencing doesn't work as moose can still get through. Plus, drivers will get the false sense of security and go even faster, putting more motorists at risk. It just transfers one problem to another. This comes from a former NB resident.

  • Skeptical Cynic
    January 03, 2014 - 09:43

    Despite the shrill alarmists at SOPAC and their ilk, I firmly believe that the vast majority of moose-vehicle collisions are a result of driver error... recklessly excessive speeds combined with a cavalier lack of vigilance.

  • when caribou fly.
    January 03, 2014 - 09:20

    I agree with Moose-Fencing what could possibly go wrong with fencing half of the island off? If caribou want to migrate, they'll just evolve wings.

  • Anon
    January 03, 2014 - 09:18

    Moose are statistically safer than driving down the outer-ring. I'm more worried about idiots flying down Columbus Drive and Thorburn road killing a pedestrian this winter than I am about moose. How many did they kill last year? Zero? Right. We need a cull. Pa-Lease.

  • Cashin Delaney
    January 03, 2014 - 07:08

    How is 120,000 significantly different than 80,000 considering geography and the fact that we are the size of Texas and you can't get to 80 percent of it without crawling and most moose will live and die without being seen by human eyes. How would anyone know how many they are? Guy screwed up, like we all do, and wants to lay blame somewhere, and get money for his self induced troubles. Everyone understands this part of human nature. Problem is, by not owning his driving and proclaiming to be infallible, in a gilded book no less, he skews the role driving habits have in a moose accident. What's next, lawsuit against the plant kingdom? Potholes? If anyone wants to sue the government, sue them for knowingly allowing Nalcor, Hydro and NL Power to conspiring to crash confidence via planned neglect leading to overnight rolling outages. This matter of people with spinal cord injuries should be settled in a direct manner by insurance companies. They continue to rake in money, and Crosbie is absolving them from their responsibility by reverting to the Newfie traditional poor mouth stance of crying to government. The few who are in need could be helped if the blaming of the animal/victim ended and insurance mafia paid what they owe to injured people. It is irresponsible, and an insult to others to factor out driving performance, and factor in dangerous brown agents of our evil government.

    • Db
      January 03, 2014 - 18:35

      Every wildlife officer Ihave spoken with feels the population numbers are extremely exaggerated.Perhaps those were true ten to twenty years ago, but those who spend time in the woods and travel a lot know that the moose numbers are a far cry from twenty years ago. I. Am far more concerned about tractor trailers up my ass on the TCH , than I am about moose and I drive. Thirty thousand Kim's a year.