Moose killed in crash; orphan calf expected to be OK
May 16, 2012
Steamboat Springs — A cow moose was struck and killed in a car crash shortly after 9 p.m. Tuesday near U.S. Highway 40 and Anglers Drive in Steamboat Springs. The moose was accompanied by a yearling calf that was unharmed in the crash.
"It's definitely able to make it on its own," District Wildlife Officer Danielle Domson said about the calf. "But it was staying in that area, wondering where its mom was."
The best result for the young moose is to let it adapt to its new circumstances on its own, she said.
Domson said her colleague, Mike Middleton, responded to the scene of the accident. Despite some citizen reports that the cow moose had two calves, Domson said Middleton told her it was just one.
"I was surprised by the location because when moose are killed it's usually up on Rabbit Ears Pass, not in the middle of town," Domson said.
Steamboat Springs Police Department officers said a Jeep Wrangler driven by a man going east on U.S. 40 hit the moose at the Angles Drive intersection. The moose’s head hit the windshield and shattered it. There was moderate damage to the side of the Jeep where the moose’s body struck the car. Officers dispatched the moose. The driver was not injured.
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Moose seem to have become year-round residents of the city in the past few years. However, wildlife officials say it's more accurate to describe them as utilizing habitat within the city limits as part of their larger range.
The accident took place in close proximity to where Fish Creek runs out of a more natural habitat between estate subdivisions into a large culvert where it passes under U.S. 40 just before its confluence with the Yampa River.
"The moose use all of the little creeks, but Fish Creek especially," Area Wildlife Manager Jim Haskins said. "And Fish Creek is also like a bear highway."
Haskins observed that community hiking trails often are located along the creeks and his office warns people to be aware of the larger mammals in those areas.
"You have to pay attention, especially with moose," Haskins said. "Bear will run away from you. It's the moose who might come after you."
Haskins said May into early June is the time of year when cow moose deliver their calves, but he didn't know if the cow moose that died was pregnant.
To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com