Moose in a noose on the loose in Kenai
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is hoping for help from people in Kenai in locating a moose with a snare around its muzzle.
Jacob Pelham, a wildlife technician at Fish and Game’s Soldotna office, says department personnel responded to reports of the moose on Saturday. They found a young bull, maybe 3 or 4 years old, near the Burger Bus in Old Town Kenai. A snare was wrapped around what appears to be only its upper muzzle.
“From what we could see, the snare loop looks like it was just around, say like the top jaw, and it was possibly back far enough,” Pelham said. “We were able to observe, the moose was still able to browse on trees and was still able to eat snow. As far as that goes, it doesn’t look like it’s immediately affecting its quality of life. Although it seems like it is probably uncomfortable, it’s not keeping the animal from making a living right now.”
Department staff attempted to immobilize the moose with an electronic control device — a Taser, would be the brand name — but after two shots, they didn’t have a good connection with both barbs and the moose didn’t stick around to give them another chance.
They’re still hoping to capture the moose to remove the snare and are asking people to call Fish and Game with sightings. The moose has a small set of antlers, a spike with one small point on one side and a couple of points on the other. It’s dragging a 4- or 5-foot length of cable from the snare loop around its muzzle.
“It looked like it was a fairly healthy moose. It was walking just fine it was trotting away from us,” Pelham said.“It was more annoyed with us, I think, than it was the snare when we were trying to capture it. If it hadn’t been for the snare, I wouldn’t have even thought twice about the moose being in any kind of distress at all.”
Pelham says the snare looks like it might have come from a wolf set but has no guess on where it got caught or for how long it’s been in its predicament.
“There’s really no telling how far away this moose actually got into contact with this snare,” Pelham said. “It’s possible it was out pretty far away and got snared and wandered into town because the living’s a little easier in town. I can’t say that for sure. But there’s no, necessarily, legality issue, as far as that goes.”
Pelham says Fish and Game has information on its website for ways trappers can minimize the chances of accidentally snaring a moose, by using diverters, noose stops and breakaways. That’s available at adfg.alaska.gov. On the trapping page, there’s a link to an article on breakaway snares.
If anyone sees the moose, the number for Fish and Game in Soldotna is 262-9368.