WINHALL -- A late night crash in Winhall Thursday left two vehicles damaged, one moose dead, and state officials warning motorists to slow down when they are traveling in moose crossing zones.
According to police, Carley Schwartz, 25, of Bondville, was driving a 2003 Toyota Camry east on Route 11/30 just before 11:30 p.m. when she struck a large male moose as it was crossing the highway.
The moose struck the front windshield and side of the vehicle and was thrown into the roadway.
A second car, driven by Jared Mailhiot, 26, of Belmont, struck the back of the moose as it passed by, causing minor damage to the vehicle.
According to the police report, Mailhiot was also traveling east and noticed Schwartz’s car, but did not see the animal in the center of the road.
Both drivers escaped without serious injury, but the moose died at the scene.
Cedric Alexander, a wildlife biologist and head of Vermont Fish and Wildlife’s moose project, said July is one of the worse months for collisions with Vermont’s largest mammals.
Moose calves are generally born in May and June, and the animals are on the move throughout the summer.
Alexander said the moose population in the southern part of the state is as large as it has been in a number of years.
"If there is a sign, the best way to avoid a collision is by slowing down," Alexander said. "If we were still driving horses and buggies there would be
Collisions are most frequent in May and June, Alexander said, when moose are coming down to the roadsides to lick the salt remains from highway maintenance during the winter season.
Collisions tail off in the fall when the large animals begin to move to higher elevations.
The number of moose killed each year tends to rise and fall with the growth of the moose population, Alexander said.
Between 1985 and 1995 the moose population in Vermont increased by between 10 and 15 percent each year.
In 1993 the state began issuing hunting permits to control the population.
The moose population is now about half of what it was in 2004 and the number of moose killed in collisions fell to 79 in 2011, the lowest number since 1993.
There are currently between 3,000 and 5,000 moose in Vermont, Alexander said.
Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at hwtisman@reformer .com or 802-254-2311, ext. 279