Moose lick salt off the bumper of a Subaru parked on Tom and Karen Fox’s driveway.
Steamboat Springs A moose and her two calves appear to have found a good source of mineral nutrients while wandering the residential streets of Steamboat Springs.
The moose have been spotted in recent weeks near Steamboat Springs High School and above the school in the Fish Creek Falls Road area. On Tuesday morning, they were seen in a driveway off Fish Creek licking the bumper of a Subaru. On Dec. 9, they tasted the sides of a Steamboat Springs Animal Control vehicle.
“I think what they’re doing is they’re picking up the salt they put on the road,” said Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife Area Wildlife Manager Jim Haskins.
It is not unusual to have moose within city limits, but Haskins said there is potential danger when the animals draw a crowd of human onlookers.
“Give them plenty of distance, give them a way out and don’t box them in,” Haskins said.
There have not been any known incidents of threatening behavior toward humans by these moose.
“We haven’t had any, but I’m worried about having them because a cow will aggressively protect the calves,” Haskins said. “They can run over the top of you, and they use their hooves to defend themselves.”
He said unlike other big game animals, moose are not spooked by humans.
“They don’t really care if we’re there or not,” said Tom Fox, whose wife, Karen, took pictures of the moose they have enjoyed seeing at their home on Deerclover Lane.
Dogs, in particular, are known to prompt a response from a moose, which then can pose a danger to humans nearby.
Haskins described moose as gangling animals that can be unsteady on their feet and easily can slip on ice.
Haskins said that might be what happened to a calf that Parks and Wildlife officers had to put down last week because it was suffering from a hip injury and unable to move.
“It couldn’t get around well at all,” Haskins said.
A relatively mild start to the winter this year has been beneficial to the wildlife population as a whole, Haskins said.
“It’s allowing them to stay spread out in good habitat,” he said. “This kind of winter we’re having right now is great for the animals.”