FORT KENT, Maine — A northern Maine senator responsible for legislation extending Maine’s moose hunt and his son escaped injury earlier this week when his car struck a moose late Tuesday evening.
Senate Majority Leader Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, and his son Chace Jackson were returning home around 9 p.m. from attending events in Stockholm and Mars Hill when the bull moose crossed in front of the car on Route 161 in Upper Guerette, about 20 miles south of Fort Kent.
“Chace just started yelling ‘moose, moose’ and I locked my brakes and thought the car would stop,” Troy Jackson said on Thursday. “I really thought the car would stop but the moose kept crossing the road and we hit him.”
The impact sent the animal onto the 2008 Dodge Avenger’s windshield, over the roof of the car and onto the trunk, where it slid off and kept on running, the elder Jackson said.
“It was just a big monster of a bull moose,” he said, adding he and his son estimated the moose probably weighed more than 800 pounds and had a full rack. “There was glass flying all over [and] I don’t know how it got off the car, but it went running on up the road.”
Jackson said the two men sat there for a moment to get their bearings, and then moved the car — blown out front tire and all — off the road and called to report the accident.
Trooper Chuck Michaud of the Maine State Police responded, Jackson said, adding this marked the fourth time he has hit a moose while driving on northern Maine roads.
While not anxious to follow in his his father’s moose-accident footsteps, Chace Jackson did say he hit a moose with his 1984 Ford pickup truck during his senior of high school.
“But that one was a yearling and I kind of tail whipped it with the pickup’s box,” he said. “This was my first head-on collision and first in a car.”
In 2009 Troy Jackson submitted LD 929, An Act to Expand Moose Hunting Season, in an attempt to bring moose-vehicle accident statistics down.
The resulting law opened a third week of moose hunting season in a northern Maine zone.
“I was hearing from people there were too many moose and too many accidents with them and some causing death,” Troy Jackson said. “That legislation was supposed to cut those back some.”
Jackson said some people have remarked to him they have been seeing fewer moose over the past year, so he thought perhaps the extra week of hunting was working.
Given that he routinely travels between 35,000 and 40,000 miles a year on legislative business, Jackson is not surprised he has had multiple moose encounters.
“What’s funny is the night before [the accident] we were coming back from Dover Foxcroft and it had snowed about three inches and I did not have the snow tires on,” he said. “All that ride home I kept telling myself if I made it, I’d put those tires on.”
Before leaving for the central Aroostook events on Tuesday, Jackson did just that.
“Now I’ve got a car that’s totaled with four good snow tires,” he said. “I’d even done an oil change.”
What does matter, he added, is that he and his son were unharmed, though Chace Jackson did say he pulled a piece of glass from his foot after the accident.
“Last week was that third week [of the annual moose hunt] that came around because of my legislation,” Troy Jackson said. “I’m not sure if the moose are trying to get even with me or not, but I won’t be introducing anymore [moose] legislation.”