Tranquilizing it, hauling it somewhere else isn't easy to do, he says.
The longer the moose that insists on calling Crookston home hangs around town, the greater the chances that Crookston Police will have to put the animal down, Police Chief Tim Motherway told the Times on Wednesday, a day after he tried to shoo the yearling female from Crookston's northeast corner and had to scramble at one point when the moose took a little run at him.
Late last week, the CPD and local Department of Natural Resources officials thought that, after a handful of attempts in recent weeks, they'd finally convinced the moose to leave town for a more natural habitat east of Crookston. But Tuesday afternoon, calls came into the CPD reporting that the moose was back, near the walking/bike path along Fisher Avenue, just as school was about to let out at CHS and Highland School nearby. The moose strolled around the Summerfield Place apartments at the corner of Fisher Ave. and Barrette Street, then walked through yards on St. Mary's Drive, eating buds off trees and bushes in several yards. Its activity spurred several people to take photos and shoot videos of the moose.
Motherway showed up and approached the moose, trying to use arm motions and voice commands to get the animal to move on. At one point, the moose stared at him and then started a hasty trot in the police chief's direction, which caused Motherway to dart away.
DNR officials, as the moose has continued to hang around Crookston after arriving in late winter from the Fisher area, figure that the moose's mother is dead, and that she probably taught her female offspring what to eat, but that the yearling has no idea that it should be wary of humans. DNR officials have said that moose kill more humans each year than any other wild animal, and that their hooves can be lethal weapons.
Motherway agrees, which is why he told the Times that the CPD has the option of putting the animal down if public safety continues to be an issue. "Especially if it continues to get near kids; it was in Highland Park all night last night," he said. "We certainly don't want to have to do that, and the DNR thinks there is still a strong chance that it'll move on. But it just keeps coming back. And yesterday, school was about to get out, and the moose was right down the road from where a lot of kids were going to be."
Motherway said he's hoping to consult with DNR conservation officers as soon as Wednesday. Meanwhile, asked if tranquilizing the moose and hauling her off to a more natural habitat elsewhere is a viable option, Motherway said DNR wildlife officers have said that more than half of the time, when attempts are made to tranquilize a moose and relocate it, the animal dies. The necessary equipment to do so is located in Duluth or the Twin Cities, he added.