It’s just about tournament time and lots of folks are going to be headed downstate within the next few days. The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and the Department of Transportation have teamed up to urge drivers look out for both deer and eagles in the stretch from Island Falls to Medway.
Regional Wildlife Biologist Mark Caron says, “when you start to come down into this area, we have several signs out..and we have those signs because it is a problem area and you’ve just got to pay attention, stay alert, slow down, and watch for wildlife.”
As far as deer go, Caron says this time of the year, they’re hanging around the interstate because of the wintering areas nearby. He doesn’t have a statistic on how many have been hit so far as many go unreported, but a number have been, and so drivers have to keep their eyes peeled.
“They’re crossing both lanes altogether or quite often they’re going out into the median and they’re laying down in there or they’re browsing or they’re hanging around the side and they’re getting hit,” Caron says.
And if there are deer carcasses alongside the road, that becomes an attraction for eagles. And eagles tend to get hit because they’re slow to move and they fly out at an angle. Six eagles were hit in three years. Caron says no eagles have been hit this year, and he wants to keep it that way.
“The dept has worked very hard through active management to bring this eagle population back..we had a low of 21 pairs in 1969, we’re up to 631 pairs as of our 2013 census,” he says.
Caron says this will be an issue through rest of the winter and into early spring. In April, the deer will start moving back into their other areas and away from the interstate.