The natural establishment of a resident population of
moose in a highly populated and mobile state such as Connecticut
does pose a considerable public safety issue, which must
be addressed by our professional wildlife managers. The
DEP Bureau of Natural Resources, Wildlife Division deserves
credit for considering this matter in its early stage.
It is the responsible thing to do: a rational policy implemented
early on may prevent needless social and environmental
problems in the years to come as moose continue to expand
their range and populate the state. The question we all
must consider is what constitutes a rational management
policy when considering the impact of an animal as large
as a moose on the welfare of our society?
The simple answer is to take a statewide view of this
issue, which the DEP seems inclined to do at this point.
If we consider this view, we must acknowledge the many
high-speed, multi-lane highways; and the very high volume
of traffic crisscrossing the state on a daily basis. Connecticut
is not a large state in physical size, and the chance of
moose/vehicle encounters with potentially devastating results
seems fairly high. From this perspective, a no tolerance
position for the establishment of a resident moose population
is being considered by DEP. Basically; a no tolerance position
translates into elimination of all; or as many as possible,
moose in Connecticut.
Besides the obvious public safety issue, there are other
management demands that would arise if a resident moose
population were allowed to develop anywhere in the state;
not the least of which would be, addressing any nuisance
complaints that may arise. This observation provides another
reason why DEP seems inclined towards the statewide view.
Simply put, budget and manpower constraints imposed by
the legislature may be forcing the department to focus
on this single view. A policy of intolerance and elimination
would be far less costly; and easily implemented, simply
by allowing deer hunters the option of taking a moose during
the regular season. This is the policy that will place
the least demand on agency resources.
Most sportsmen, who are aware of this issue and the position
DEP seems to be favoring, are alarmed and concerned by
the prospect of a policy of intolerance. To sportsmen/conservationists,
a policy of intolerance is unacceptable. We advocate a
regional approach to the management of our moose population.
Our view is one derived from the principle of environmental
quality through tolerance and diversity in our natural
world, tempered by the realities of our social infrastructure,
as it exists today.
We maintain that a small resident moose population could
be managed in Northwest Connecticut. We believe the great
majority of citizens residing in this part of the state
would welcome the presence of moose, adding to our wildlife
diversity. Route 8 is our only major highway corridor and
it has very good sight lines along most of its length.
We advocate a zone of moose tolerance bounded by or near,
the Connecticut River in the east; and route 84 to the
south. We suggest that our common borders with Massachusetts
to the north, and New York to the west, are inconsequential
when considering moose and see these areas as natural extensions
of the tolerated moose region.
We cannot speak authoritatively for the other regions
of the state, but in Northwest Connecticut we believe the
moose provide benefits to our region that far outweigh
any negative impact. Tourism, for example, will be enhanced
by the opportunity to view these animals. And should control
prove necessary, it will add substantial revenue to the
state as it has in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. Sportsmen
would provide the means to control any overabundance of
moose that may develop in the future. The few moose now
resident in this area have posed no major problem. DEP
should recognize this fact and base its initial management
plans on the regional model, allowing tolerance and management
in appropriate areas.
DEP will not ignore citizen comment on this issue. However,
comment needs to be made now, before a final policy recommendation
is adopted. Experience teaches that once the agency finalizes
a policy proposal, it is very difficult to reopen the door
Letters addressing public opinion regarding the moose
issue will be most effective if addressed to:
DEP Deputy Commissioner - David Leff or
Bureau of Natural Resources Chief - Edward C. Parker or
Wildlife Division Director - Dale May.
The common address for each is:
79 Elm St.
Hartford, CT 06106-5127