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More moose make for dangerous driving

By Tom Mashberg
Boston Herald

Windsor police Chief Robert W. Harris Jr. was humming down Route 9 on his personal Harley-Davidson when the moose clambered over the guardrail just in front of the town fire station.

Harris tried to swerve, but it was too late. In a hot second the man and the moose, a pregnant female weighing 800 pounds, were lying in the road with broken legs.

“He's been in the hospital for days and he's really hurting,” said Windsor officer Peter Pyskaty. “We had to destroy the moose.”

Moose-vehicle crashes are on the rise in Massachusetts. Harris' accident is the 10th recorded by the state since April, compared with two in the same period last year. The state's Wildlife Department said a record 33 moose-vehicle collisions occurred last year, as well as the first human fatality.

In 2002, 26 hits were reported, and in 2001, 17 were tallied.

“Motorists need to be aware of the increasing number of moose in Massachusetts and their tendency to cross roads at night,” said William Woytek of MassWildlife.

“As adult female moose prepare for bearing calves, last year's young are driven off to begin life on their own,” he explained.

Moose rarely survive collisions with cars. There is no moose-hunting season in the Bay State, and central Massachusetts residents feel there should be one to help cull the growing numbers.

The state is believed to have 500 to 700 moose, most concentrated in Worcester County, compared with 9,000 in New Hampshire and 4,000 in Vermont.

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