Visiting with Armour Transport CEO Wes Armour and riding along with their driver Dwayne Schurman, the topic of wildlife strikes came up several times.
It’s a big problem in New Brunswick, even though the province has lined much of its portion of the Trans-Canada Highway with fencing. The fencing, it turns out, doesn’t discourage bears from getting onto the road and they are becoming a big problem.
Hitting a moose is a $20,000 repair bill, Wes tells me. The obvious solution would be to equip tractors with moose bars but Wes pointed out a good one costs about four grand. When you’ve got 800 or so trucks to equip, that’s a huge investment. So maybe the odd $20,000 repair bill is actually cheaper in the end. If you’re an owner/operator, a moose bar is likely good insurance, as a $20K repair bill can ruin your year. But if you have hundreds of trucks to equip, requiring a multi-million-dollar investment, the cost-benefit analysis may work out differently.
Deer strikes occur regularly but don’t cause near the damage because of their lower center of gravity. The Volvo we were driving had deer whistles mounted to the hood mirrors and Dwayne swears by them. He says he often sees deer on the side of the road but they seem to hear the whistles and don’t dash out onto the road. That’s an inexpensive budget if they really do work. How about it, folks? What are your experiences with deer whistles? Interested to hear.
Bears are a growing threat. Wes says the have a low center of gravity but they’re solid – it’s like smacking into a boulder, so you better have your seatbelt on. Dwayne thought he grazed a small bear just a few nights before I rode along with him. They’re hard to see in the dark and he noticed three of them on the road and felt a soft tap.
He wisely drove about five miles before pulling over to inspect for damage, in case there was an angry mama bear waiting to exact her revenge. There was no damage to the truck and he feels confident the bear survived its brush with death.
There was moose fencing on this stretch of highway, so he figures the bears just climb right on over. Dwayne said it’s extremely rare for him to make his nightly Moncton-Edmunston run without seeing any kind of wildlife. But on our trip, we didn’t see any critters at all.
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