MADAWASKA (AP) – A Maine couple whose son died after hitting a moose while riding his motorcycle are asking the state to do more to prevent such accidents.

Erny and Edwina Levesque want an expanded moose hunt to lower the moose population and wider open spaces along roads to increase driver visibility.

Their son, Eugene Levesque, 45, died June 26, one week after hitting a moose along Route 1. His wife Patricia Levesque, 43, who was with him, remains in serious condition with massive head injuries at Maine Medical Center in Portland.

Levesque is one of four fatalities involving moose this year in the state, the highest number of deaths since 1998 when five people were killed in moose-related accidents.

Levesque was the second fatal moose-motorcycle accident this year.

Erny Levesque, 75, and his wife attended a public meeting last Friday at the University of Maine at Fort Kent with Roland D. Martin, commissioner of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, to discuss their concerns.

“I just feel that my son is telling me that I have to do something,” the retired machinist said. “I am so emotionally charged against moose right now that if I saw one in my back yard, I think I would bring it down.”

On Monday, Levesque and his wife sent out letters to newspapers and collected names on a petition they will send to Gov. John Baldacci.

The couple’s request for increased moose hunting is not without precedent. In 1999, a Caribou woman, Cathie McBrearity, launched a similar campaign after her mother, Donna Caron, died from injuries the previous year when the car her husband was driving veered to avoid a collision with a moose on Interstate 95 in Litchfield.

McBrearity started a petition drive for an open hunting season and got 10,000 signatures from people who thought the Maine moose herd was too large. The Legislature increased the moose hunt by 50 percent that year.

Levesque is hoping for a similar result. They are suggesting that an increased moose hunt be held for one year in areas of Maine where the animals are most prevalent to decrease the herd by around 5,000 moose.

“This broke up our lives,” Levesque said. “The only thing we can do is to try and do something about this.”

The peak season for moose on roads runs from May through November. Moose are drawn to the roadside by salt from winter snow removal.

While moose accidents occur all over the state, they are more prevalent in the north.

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