December 19, 2010 in Outdoors

Stay loose if moose move in

By The Spokesman-Review
File photo

Moose have become fairly common sights roaming the fringes of North Idaho or Spokane-area communities. Local agencies say they regularly get complaints about moose munching and messing gardens and landscaping, but usually it’s best to leave the big creatures be.
(Full-size photo)

Winter weather is tempting moose to wander into towns and neighborhoods to nibble tender landscaping plants.

In most cases, Idaho Fish and Game Department officers recommend giving the moose a day or two to find its way back into the wild. 

“It found its way into town; it can find a way out,” said officer Mark Rhodes. “That is the favored option.” 

Idaho and Washington wildlife agencies would rather avoid responding to moose complaints, partly because it takes a ton of time out of the schedule of already overstretched officers, and partly because it’s dangerous for the people involved and for the moose.

The drugs administered by a tranquilizer gun can be fatal if the moose is especially agitated or its weight misjudged, Rhodes said.

If you encounter a moose, IDFG says you shouldn’t approach it.

Keep your distance, and keep dogs away.

 Every case is different, but the officers would prefer not getting a call unless the moose has been given time to leave or if it’s posing a significant danger, Rhodes said.

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