Moose collisions peak in winter months in B.C.: UNBC

No driver wants to see a moose ahead of them on a dark, winter highway, but it's also when British Columbians are most likely to hit one.

Roy Rea found drivers are more likely to hit moose in winter in B.C., but in the summer in Alberta

A moose on the highway in Yukon. Cars crash with moose around the world, but research shows the time of year when collisions peak vary by region. (Philippe Morin/CBC)

A new study finds winter is the most likely season for drivers to hit a moose in British Columbia.

Roy Rea — a senior instructor at the University of Northern British Columbia — compared moose collision statistics in jurisdictions with moose populations.

According to the B.C. Ministry of Transportation's Wildlife Accident Reporting System, 335 collisions with moose were reported on B.C. highways in 2012 — the most recent information available.

Rea said that number is high, but not surprising based on the large moose population in the province — an estimated 150,000 to 200,000.

UNBC instructor Roy Rea compared statistics on collisions with moose in B.C. to jurisdictions around the world. (Roy Rea)

Rea discovered significant differences in peak times for moose collisions.

"In British Columbia, most of our moose collisions happen in December and January, and if you head to the other side of the Rockies, most of them happen in the mid-summer," he told Daybreak South's Chris Walker.

Rea said winter collisions are most common in B.C., Alaska and Western Scandinavia, while summer collisions are more common in Alberta and Eastern Scandinavia.

"I think it has to do with seasonal migrations here in British Columbia and Alaska where we have high elevation summer ranges that the animals can retreat to in the summer time. They're up and away from where we've built our roads."

Rea said he did notice one common theme world-wide — most collisions with moose happen at night.

To hear more about how moose collisions compare around the world, click the audio labelled: Roy Rea compares moose collisions world-wide.

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