Wildlife officials and Bismarck police are keeping a close watch on a young bull moose roaming through the city hoping it will find its way out of town.
The spiked bull was first reported to police late Monday in the area of the Pebble Creek Golf Course and by Tuesday evening, it had attracted a large crowd of onlookers.
The moose had bedded down during the day and Jeb Williams, assistant wildlife chief for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, said an attempt to haze the animal out of town was partially successful.
He said between the Game and Fish Department and police, the moose had moved east toward Hay Creek.
“We hoped it would follow the natural drainage and he did for awhile,” Williams said.
But by Wednesday morning the moose had turned and wandered back into town.
People on social media sites were commenting and posting photos of the moose.
Williams said the moose is moving in the general direction of the Missouri River and could make an escape there, but there are a lot of obstacles between it and the river.
Meanwhile, people are urged to give the moose plenty of space and not to disturb or harass the moose which could cause it to bolt into traffic or worse, Williams said.
The moose sighting has drawn quite a bit of attention, but that could be a bad thing for the animal.
“It’s in an area where there is very little margin for error,” Williams said.
He said tranquilizing the bull is not an option because even with a good hit with a dart, it would take about 10 minutes for the animal to go down.
“In the meantime it will bolt,” he said.
Young bull moose often get pushed out of their home range during the fall in search of a mate.
Williams said the best case scenario would be for the moose to backtrack to the Hay Creek area where there are fewer obstructions.