“So if you tranquilize it and try to move it, there’s more than a 50/50 chance it will die,” he said. “But if you shoot it, there’s a 100 percent chance it will die.”

A Times’ reader, after reading the latest installment involving
the yearling female moose who really seems to dig Crookston, broke things down to some simple math that seems to make some sense.

Crookston Police Chief Tim Motherway, in speaking with Minnesota Department of Natural Resources officials about the moose predicament, told the Times in a May 8 story that the DNR said that if the decision is made to tranquilize the young moose and attempt to relocate her to a more natural setting, there’s a more than 50 percent chance she won’t survive the process. It was during that discussion – one day after Motherway tried to shoo the moose out of some northeast corner yards and had to dart away when the moose took a little run at him – that the police chief indicated that the longer the moose insists in hanging around town, the greater the chances the CPD will put it down. If public safety is deemed enough of a concern, Motherway said, as much as he’d hate to have to do kill the moose, the police need to put the public’s safety before the welfare of the animal.

Which brings us back to the Times’ reader and his math: “So if you tranquilize it and try to move it, there’s more than a 50/50 chance it will die,” he said. “But if you shoot it, there’s a 100 percent chance it will die.”

Apparently, and not surprisingly, few want to see the latter happen. The Times’ story last week spurred quite a reaction on Facebook, with some readers saying they’ll donate themselves and pass the hat to help cover the costs of tranquilizing and moving the animal. (Equipment and personnel would need to be brought in from as far away as the Twin Cities, Motherway said.) Some Facebook posters,
in the process of speaking up enthusiastically in favor of not killing the yearling moose, also made it clear how upset they’d be if it is killed. That’s bad PR for our local law enforcement, which is usually wise to avoid. And, yes, Crookston’s moose even has her own Facebook page now, with several hundered people “liking” the page.

Yes, this is a wild animal. Yes, if the moose hurts or kills someone or if a motorist strikes her and is injured or killed, 20/20 hindsight will spur some to wonder how the local police could let such a tragedy happen. But this appears to be no ordinary moose. DNR officials figure its mom lived long enough to teach it how to eat, but not long enough to teach it that humans are creatures to be extremely wary of. This young female is simply hanging around where the eating is good, and probably wondering what all the fuss is about.

Killing the moose – assuming she doesn’t hurt or kill anyone who gets too close or get hit by a vehicle – is the worst possible short-term outcome. It would resolve the issue, one could argue, but killing it would just be sad, and many will be left wondering if a relocation effort just might have worked after all. Minnesota’s moose numbers have tanked in a major way in recent years, with parasites and other disease wiping out big chunks of the heard. So we have a healthy, young female here, and we’re just going to kill her?

Tranquilize it and try to relocate it. If she doesn’t survive it, at least the CPD and DNR will be able to say they tried their best to save her and give her a good life elsewhere.