He loved and lost…

From left, Wyoming Game and Fish biologist Jared Rogerson, Deputy Mike Heuckstadt, Lt. Dave Siefkes, Game Warden Bubba Haley, Pinedale supervisor John Lund and Lt. Logan Gehlhausen heave a sedated young bull moose into a horse trailer Monday afternoon. The bull had paired up with a cow and acted very aggressively to protect her from people and neighbors around Boyd Skinner Park.

Lovesick bull moose moved from town park and mate

Reports of frightened

schoolkids hiding behind trees as an angry

bull moose charged them brought out those

trained to protect both people and wildlife

Monday afternoon at the edge of Boyd Skinner

Park.

The young bull moose, which one neighbor

in the Shanley Avenue area described as

having antlers more like an elk, was in full rut

and protecting a cow in full heat, according

to Wyoming Game and Fish’s Pinedale Regional

Wildlife Supervisor John Lund.

“We got the call about the moose after it

had charged two people on the path by the

Harmony Bridge,” Lund said. “When we got

there it charged us several times as well.”

Although Game and Fish prefers to leave

mating mammals to themselves and nature,

this bull was very aggressive in protecting his

mate and endangering people in the park and

families living in nearby houses.

“We briefly considered catching the cow

and moving her as well, but since she wasn’t

acting aggressively toward people it was best

to leave her alone,” Lund said. “There are

plenty of bulls in and around town, and I’m

sure she will hook up with a new friend in

very short order...”

Monday afternoon, Game and Fish employees

and Sublette County sheriff’s deputies

watched the lovesick pair – napping under

a pine tree by an overgrown ditch – from the

safety of a large truck parked on the trail.

Wildlife biologist Jared Rogerson loaded

tranquilizer darts filled with Nal Med-A into

By Joy Ufford

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Joy Ufford photos

Game Warden Bubba Haley wades into thigh-high water and guides the unconscious

moose as it is slowly towed from a deep ditch with a towrope around its antlers.

Haley used a horse halter to keep its head above water after it fell in.

a rifle and met Game Warden Bubba Haley,

whose truck was parked across the popular

Harmony Bridge. Rogerson fired one dart at

the bull, who turned and charged at the truck

several times. Then they waited until the bull

was completely sedated to approach him,

where he had fallen into deep water.

Haley waded into the ditch and asked for

a horse halter from his truck so he could lift

the bull moose’s large nose out of the water,

saying he might drown otherwise. With a

long tow rope attached to the truck hitch

and slowly moving ahead, Haley and others

guided the unconscious moose out of the ditch

and onto flat ground where he rested while

they all discussed where to move him.

“Moose are very special animals to Pinedale

residents and we will only relocate

them out of town if they are causing human

safety issues, which is extremely rare,” Lund

said. “In this case the two moose were located

on a blind corner on the path by the Harmony

Bridge and people couldn’t see them until

they were very close; combined with the

bull’s aggressive attitude, leaving them alone

was not an option so we felt it was necessary

to chemically immobilize the bull and move

him out of the area.”

He added it is the first time in at least 10

years a moose needed to be moved out of town.

Six strong men pulled the 700-pound animal

into the horse trailer and Rogerson administered

a reversal drug that “might take 10

seconds or 30 minutes” to bring him back to

consciousness. Game and Fish want an animal

standing on its own four feet before moving

it to avoid any injury.

As they waited, the lovelorn cow returned

to where the bull had fallen and had been

dragged from the water, her hackles raised

and snorting at several passers-by.

In the end, the bull moose had to be taken

where there are fewer chances to encounter

people and still be able to breed with another

cow.

He was released unharmed on private

property in the Upper Green area, according

to Lund.

Later, Lund explained that Wyoming

Game and Fish does not have a set policy

about moving animals but decides on a “caseby-

case basis and we consider all options on

each situation.”

Human safety is agency personnel’s first

concern, as it was for the Sublette deputies on

hand.

“While moose are a common sight in town,

we remind everyone to always give them the

space and respect they deserve to avoid conflicts,”

Lund advised.

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