FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) There are many perils when driving in Alaska -- bad roads, snow, ice and moose. Each year between 600 and 800 moose are killed by drivers in Alaska, often destroying the vehicle and even injuring the occupants. We spoke with Michael Potter of the Alaska Wildlife Troopers to learn about what drivers should and shouldn’t do if they hit a moose.
“The first thing they should do is probably just contact the troopers and report it. They are required by law to report accidents, and to report accidently hitting a moose or killing a moose in particular,” Potter said.
He said that troopers will either send a wildlife trooper or a patrol trooper to the scene to secure the area, conduct an investigation, and if need be, put the moose down.
Potter also recommends turning on hazard lights, and putting out a flare or some sort of marker to let other drivers know to be cautious.
What shouldn’t drivers do? Potter said not to shoot the moose yourself. “The primary reason is it’s illegal to take a moose outside of normal seasons, and bag limits and methods and means and all those things... so they would actually potentially be committing a crime if they killed a moose by accident with their car and then salvaged it and took it home.”
He said that sometimes they will instruct a driver to shoot the moose themselves if they have a way to and it will be a long time before a trooper can make it to the scene. However, he emphasized that they will only allow that if you call troopers and they give permission. Once the moose is dead, Potter said they will take care of getting the moose salvaged and distributed to someone on the salvage list.
Potter said the tips don’t just apply to moose. “Any big game animal, a moose, a bear, a muskox, a sheep... any of those big game animals... you definitely should be contacting us.”
He said they have people available 24 hours a day, and that it is always safer to call the troopers and check when you have a potential problem.
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