Deadly stretch of 390 claims another moose
By Mark Huffman, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Date: February 11, 2013
A young moose was hit and killed Friday on a section of Teton Village Road marked by a rash of similar crashes in the winter of 2011-12.
The animal’s body was left lying next to a sign warning of wildlife in the area.
The death came after mobile warning signs that had been in the area were moved, said a resident involved in the community effort to reduce wildlife fatalities along the busy road, Wyoming 390.
Carla Watsabaugh said the stretch of highway where the juvenile moose died “is a literal graveyard for moose.”
Ann Smith, of Wilson, said Sunday she recognized the dead moose as one she had videotaped just a few days earlier near her home.
“It’s very upsetting to me,” Smith said. “It’s like an old friend; they’ve been in my yard.”
The deadly collision occurred about 6 p.m. Friday, according to a Wyoming Highway Patrol dispatcher. The moose was struck, he said, by a Toyota pickup registered in Teton County. No one in the truck was hurt.
After five moose were killed last winter on 390 just north of Highway 22, citizens campaigned for preventive measures along the dangerous stretch of road. Wyoming Highway Department District Engineer John Eddins attended a meeting with about 80 people and lowered the nighttime speed limit on the first four miles of road from 45 mph to 35 mph. The Jackson Hole Wildlife Foundation raised money for two flashing mobile warning signs that were put in the area.
The signs were in place for months but then moved to a nearby spot during a time when deer and elk were migrating, Watsabaugh said.
“There was a huge effort to prevent moose carnage,” Watsabaugh said. She added that after the recent migration, the signs “should have been moved back” to the location where moose deaths have been frequent.
The danger has worsened in recent years, Watsabaugh said, because more moose seem to be spending time in the neighborhoods bordering 390.
“The moose are always here now, they’re in our backyards all the time,” she said, “whether they’re being driven closer to us by wolves, or whatever.”
Highway 390’s first miles north of 22 are the most dangerous.
“This is where it happens, this little strip of road,” Smith said.
She said that if a 35 mph limit doesn’t work, traffic should be slowed still more.
“Maybe they could lower the limit to 25,” she said, “but I really don’t expect that.”