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Two moose were struck and killed by vehicles last weekend along the Gunflint Trail, the winding 57-mile road that starts in Grand Marais and ends near the Ontario border.

Cook County Sheriff Pat Eliasen said every year a handful are hit, "but everybody is very concerned because in a short period of time" two have been hit, along with another reported injured along the trail the previous weekend.

The moose were struck about halfway up the trail, just north of the Trail Center, where the speed limit is 50 mph.

Eliasen said moose don't generally dart quickly out of the woods and onto a road like deer or bears can. With summertime traffic increasing, he cautioned drivers to pay attention and stick to the posted speed limit.

"If you hit a full-size moose and you're driving a passenger car, you could really suffer some injuries yourself," he said, noting that the long length of a moose's legs means the bulk of its body could crash onto a car hood or into a windshield.

Earlier this month a collision with a moose 25 miles south of Eveleth sent the animal through the windshield and a woman to a hospital.

Moose can weigh more than 1,000 pounds and grow as tall as 6 feet.

The state's moose population, whose typical range is in northwestern and northeastern Minnesota, is the largest it has been in more than a decade after 11 consecutive years of remaining relatively stable, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said this spring.

The DNR's 2022 survey estimated the state's moose population at about 4,700.