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December 23, 2010

Tasty landscaping attracts moose into town

By Mark Rhodes, IDFG

   Every winter, Idaho Fish and Game gets calls about moose in town. They are attracted to town by edible ornamental and native plants and shrubs that are easy food sources.

   Generally the moose appear on the edge of town. Sometimes, however, they will find their way well into suburban neighborhoods or downtown areas.

   Though this winter has just begun, several moose already have found their way well into the city limits of Coeur d'Alene. This creates quite a stir and a long list of possible problems.

   Fish and Game usually recommends giving the moose a day or two to find its way out. It found its way into town, it can find a way out. That is the favored option.

   Many people expect Fish and Game to show up immediately and move the moose. That sounds far easier than it actually is.

   Drugs administered by a dart are used to subdue a moose. The drug is hard on the moose's system, and can be fatal if it is especially agitated or its weight misjudged. A moose rarely goes under the influence of the drug right where it gets darted. They can move a considerable distance through neighborhoods once darted. When it finally succumbs to the tranquilizer, it is heavy, and eight people are needed to carry it to a modified horse trailer.

   The drug used on the moose is dangerous to humans. Fish and Game is always concerned about the possibility of an errant dart being lost where it could come into contact with people.

   Having a moose in town can be novel and interesting but only for a short time. They incite neighborhood dogs. They surprise people heading to the newspaper box. They cause problems with traffic. And most of all they become agitated and dangerous when approached too closely by people.

   Fish and Game asks anyone who encounters a moose to not approach it. A moose that feels threatened can be a danger to people. People should keep their distance, keep something substantial between themselves and the moose, and leave it alone.

   If the moose has been given some time to leave, and does not, call the Fish and Game regional office. A decision will be made at that time about the best approach to the situation.

   Mark Rhodes is a District Conservation Officer in the Panhandle Region.

Sportsmen's Report sponsored by John and Lorraine Weiland

Riverside Sport Shop/Sinclair

11320 U.S. Highway 12, Orofino--208-476-5418

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