During the past years of travel we have seen a lot of moose-auto collisions. Oftentimes the vehicles involved are almost unrecognizable, with people trapped in their cars or lying on the roadside, broken and bleeding.
It was always my view that the majority of these accidents were a direct result of speeding, and some of these accidents are that. The roads at night are dark, the forest is dark and the moose are dark, making it very difficult to see these large animals.
However, my opinion of these accidents has changed due to a moose hitting my vehicle, not my vehicle hitting a moose.
On Feb. 11. 2010, at approximately 7:30 p.m., we were traveling home to the Marystown area about two kilometers from the Goobies turnoff on the TCH.
We were driving a one-ton dually and pulling a 28-foot construction trailer at 90 km per hour. In a split second, the driver side window exploded inward and a moose head came into the cab, hitting me in the head, pushing me over to the center of the pickup and cut open my left shoulder with the seatbelt.
The momentum of the truck pulled the moose back out the window. It tore the fender off the truck and crashed into the left front corner of the trailer. It then fell into the middle of the road.
I was diagnosed as having my neck broken two-thirds of the way, along with serious ligament and muscle damage.
I have lost a considerable amount of work due to my injury. I am costing the medical system money. That is you, the taxpayer.
As well as working construction, I am also a farmer. If any of my livestock were to get out and wander onto a roadway and get hit by an automobile causing serious damage to the auto or yet worse maim or kill somebody, I would be paying for the rest of my life. Why then is the government not responsible for the damage that these moose are causing when they are the ones who regulate them?
We have the highest density of moose in North America - one for every four people, or 125,000. Let’s say for arguments sake we have 75,000 mature females. We have a calf crop every year. Even by deducting for predation and calving difficulties, that leaves us with approximately 28,000 bull calves and 28,000 female calves. Isn’t this identical to how we arrived at our problem of seal overpopulation?
Since my accident, I occasionally have spoken with and listened to open line conversations. The consensus is the majority of the people in this province are in favor of a serious moose cull. However, in this province we have a separation of government and people. This, it appears, is not a government for the people.
Evidence of that is the decision made by bureaucrats and sanctioned by Environment and Conservation Minister Ross Wiseman. The prudent approach would be to advertise a serious cull of the moose population, and in turn, generate income for the provincial coffers. The government’s decision is to keep the moose population growing and use the taxpayers money on an experimental fence and motion detection cameras. Incompetent! Looks that way.
The government currently derives some revenue from moose hunting each year. Even with a serious cull, that income would still be there. However, that income from hunting in no way offsets the medical cost to the taxpayers of Newfoundland from the people injured or killed - two per day - in moose accidents in the province.
Show your compassion for the many, many of your fellow Newfoundlanders who have been injured over the years in moose accidents. With an election around the corner, your voice will be heard. Remember, you could be the next moose accident!