See a moose? Let us know, DEC says

State invites public to help with difficult census

A moose stands along state Route 30 near Meacham Lake in December 2018. (Provided photo — Theresa Mitchell)

The state Department of Environmental Conservation is asking the public to report moose sightings as part of a multi-year project to study the Adirondacks’ largest animal.

According to a map of 2018 moose sightings by town, the vast majority of moose sightings in New York occur within the Blue Line and North Country, though there are sightings throughout much of the Hudson River corridor. In the past, the department has estimated that there are anywhere from 400 to about 1,000 moose in the state.

“Moose sightings increase in the spring with the rising temperatures and melting snow. As cows prepare to give birth to the current year’s calf, the previous year’s calves become separated and must look for their own territories,” a press release said. “New food sources become available as snow melts and plants grow, while biologically-essential salt is available along roadsides from winter road maintenance. In late spring, there is an increase in public recreation in the Adirondacks, as well. These factors lead to more opportunities for the public to observe moose.”

Last year, the public reported 220 moose sightings, which the DEC said is a big jump from 2017’s 163. People who see a moose can report it online or by emailing the DEC. People can also submit photos of moose for inclusion on the DEC’s website.

Citizen sightings are not the only way the DEC studies the moose population. The state utilizes a private company to do aerial surveys via helicopter during the winter, and that effort often results in numerous moose being temporarily captured for monitoring.

“As part of the study, twelve moose were captured in the Adirondacks in January 2015, fitted with GPS radio collars, and released,” the DEC’s website explains. “Another nine moose were capture in January 2016, and 5 more were captured in 2017. The movement of the moose (is) being remotely tracked, and these animals will be monitored for calf production and survival.

“During the winter, researchers used helicopters to fly transects across the Adirondacks to survey for moose. During the summers of 2016 and 2017, researchers used trained detection dogs to locate and collect moose scat, which can be used to generate a population estimate as well as provide data about moose diet and health. Researchers also have tracked collared moose to understand their diet selection and have been sampling vegetation across the Adirondack Park to assess the quantity and quality of available food sources.”

Earlier this year, the helicopter effort led to 83 moose being sighted over 42 hours of flight time.

The DEC’s press release also noted that there have been several motor vehicle-moose collisions, including one in McColloms on May 20. In that incident, a Norwood man was driving to work when the male moose ran into the side of the truck. A DEC officer estimated the moose to be 2 years old. The animal was injured, and State Police dispatched it at the scene.

“DEC reminds the public to respect wildlife by viewing from a distance, at least 50 feet away,” the DEC wrote in the release. “Keep quiet, move slowly, and do not approach moose. Drive cautiously at dusk and at night in the Adirondacks. Due to their height and dark color, moose are hard to see on the road until they are close.”

For more on moose, including the link to submit a sighting, go to www.dec.ny.gov/animals/6964.html.