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Conn. biologists try to pin down moose numbers

BARKHAMSTED, Conn. -- State biologists are trying to find a female moose to get a better handle on how many of the big beasts are roaming Connecticut.

Biologists with the state Department of Environmental Protection need to determine whether the state's moose population is big enough to pose a traffic hazard, which could lead to control measures such as establishing a hunting season.

The state has six computer- chip- embedded collars equipped with global positioning systems and other gear that it wants to place on female moose, known as cows, which are better barometers of the population.

Andrew Labonte, a wildlife technician at the DEP's Franklin office, said data collected by the collars will reveal location, whether the moose are standing or sitting, and weather conditions.

Data will form the basis of a regional study about habitat, range, and use of the landscape to better manage and understand the population.

The animals, which prefer swamps and low-lying areas, are hiding very well, said biologist Howard Kilpatrick.

"Now we are hoping for an opportunity over the summer," Kilpatrick said. '

The population, which has been put at more than 100, is increasing as calves are born here.