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Thursday, December 18, 2014
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Drive alertly: Deer & moose are on the move by Ron Kolodziej

Wednesday, September 28, 2011 - Updated: 7:08 AM

Very shortly, whitetails will begin their pre-rut activity, meaning they’ll become more active. Actually, some bucks in this area have already begun “chasing” does, but as mid-October arrives they’ll begin their activities in earnest. Exactly when the rut occurs is subject to conjecture and it depends upon whose book you’ve read and what part of the country you live in. Better perhaps to just go with rough rules of thumb.

Hereabouts the “primary rut” generally occurs sometime around the middle of November, followed by other, though lesser, rutting periods over the next few months, about 28 days apart, right through January and often even into February. Does and bucks become much more active during these periods and their behavior can be erratic, to say the least.

October, November and December are also generally considered the peak months for car - deer collisions. Moose “rut” a bit earlier than whitetails, beginning in late September and extending through mid- to late-October, and their behavior is no less erratic than whitetails during their rut.

Therefore, this may be a good time to warn all motorists to be especially alert when traveling North Country roads this time of year. Hitting a whitetail is bad enough but hitting a moose can be a horrendous experience, and can cause a lot more damage to both the vehicle and passengers.

Because of differences in size, if you hit a deer, the impact will often throw the critter in front of the vehicle or perhaps off the shoulder of the road but, because of their height and greater weight, if you hit a moose you normally knock them right off their feet and onto the hood or windshield of your vehicle. Depending upon your speed, that’s when damage to the occupants of your vehicle can often occur, so defensive driving is a must this time of year.

Moose wander wherever and whenever they please, but the state departments of Environmental Conservation and Transportation try to identify some of the more dangerous areas with “moose crossing” signs. Always be alert when driving through the North Country, especially at dawn and dusk, and be especially watchful in areas identified by moose crossing signs. That warning increases geometrically if you’re on a motorcycle.

Motorists should practice essentially the same precautions they’d take when traveling through deer country: be especially alert at dawn and dusk; reduce speed, stay alert and watch the roadsides; reduce speed when approaching a moose standing near the roadside, since they might dart into your path; when you see one, be prepared for others - like deer, moose may travel in pairs or even small groups; and use your emergency flashers or headlight signals to warn other drivers when one of the critters is spotted near the road.

If you hit and injure or kill a moose, or for that matter a deer or bear, call your nearest police agency and report it as soon as possible. If the critter is dead you may be able to keep the carcass if you wish, but only after receiving a possession permit from the investigating officer. That may become more a problem if you hit and kill a moose because you may not have a vehicle left with which to remove the carcass. In that case, call a friend with a pickup truck and plenty of muscle.

MORE ON ETHANOL

The Environmental Protection Agency recently allowed fuel companies to increase the amount of ethanol in gasoline from 10 percent to 15 percent. That move could result in more damaged boat engines for unsuspecting owners who use the newly formulated fuel.

Ethanol increases the acidity of the fuel, which in older boats and motors can actually dissolve fuel tanks and lines, which can ultimately damage, clog and stall engines.

A survey conducted recently by AnglerSurvey.com shows most anglers who boat were unaware of this increase in ethanol and the threat the change poses. Almost 56 percent of the respondents were unaware of the change, while only 41 percent reported being aware of it.

Also, and equally important in this day of rising fuel prices, the addition of 50 percent more ethanol is unlikely to reduce gas prices and may in fact even raise them.

For more information on the threat ethanol poses to boat engines go to www.boatus.com/seaworthy/ethanol on the web.

     

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