BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. – Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers were able to find the bull moose seen in recent weeks with a rope wrapped around its head and antlers, and removed the rope and freed the animal on Friday evening.
Wildlife officers had been told the moose was spotted again in the Brainard Lake area in recent days and were able to track it down near Lake Isabelle and Pawnee Pass on Friday evening to tranquilize it and remove the rope.
CPW said the moose had some cuts around its chin and ears from the rope but said they were confident he will heal well and be at full strength for the upcoming rut.
“Other than the cuts sustained from the rope around its chin and ears, the bull moose was in really good body condition. Wildlife officers said it easily weight over 1,000 pounds,” CPW said.
The bull had previously been tagged when it was relocated out of Boulder in 2014. CPW estimates it is at least 6 or 7 years old because of the shape of its antlers.
CPW said it released the bull Tuesday night. The agency released video of the moose walking away into the willows after he was freed.
Here is the bull moose from #BrainardLake walking away in the thick willows at about 11,000 feet after wildlife officers removed the rope tangled around its antlers and chin. @usfsarp pic.twitter.com/RWuLcw783C— CPW NE Region (@CPW_NE) August 15, 2020
CPW Boulder North District Wildlife Manager Tyler Asnicar said he was not part of the crew that went up Friday morning, but he went up to the area on Friday afternoon to talk to people who might have seen the moose.
He said a woman was one of only about 50 people he spoke with who said they had seen it on Friday. She pointed the moose’s location out on a map.
Asnicar hiked up and found the moose in the same spot and tried to tranquilize it, but missed, he said.
But he was able to call another officer, who came up with more darts and sedative. At last light, they were able to tranquilize the moose, which finally went down about 30 minutes later.
The two officers had the rope off of the animal within a couple of minutes, Asnicar said, and administered the sedative reversal. He said the moose was up and walking within 10 minutes.
Asnicar said the rope was a climbing rope that campers had been using about two weeks ago to hang their trash away from bears that the moose got tangled in – something those campers had reported to CPW.
Asnicar said it was key for people to report any such things involving wildlife as soon as they see it and can get back into cell phone range – as it is easier for wildlife officers to find animals if the sightings are reported quickly.
But he also cautioned that people should stay away from wildlife and not interact with them – particularly with the rut coming up.
“The rut is coming up – elk and moose will be the first. Bulls, especially, will be more aggressive. They’re flaunting their stuff for the ladies. … They’re seeing red – there’s not a good distance,” Asnicar said. “At least 100 yards away is a good starting point.”