Last spring I glanced out my kitchen window and there they were: a cow moose with her calf, tearing my lilac bush to shreds. A couple of months later I returned from a dog walk to see my neighbors’ daughter standing outside her house, frozen. Momma and calf were back and blocking the route to her front door. And then, in the fall, the pair broke through the neighbors’ gate to enjoy a snack and a nap. So when the day came that momma and calf had to be removed by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, I was not surprised.
“Tranquilizing [and relocating] those moose was a tough call for us,” says Chad Wilson, a wildlife biologist with the UDWR. “They are next to mountains and water, so it’s not atypical for them to be here, but we must err on the side of human safety. We’d rather respond now than in two weeks with a personal injury.” So what can we, who love living our Northern Exposure lifestyle, do?
“Moose will eat just about anything but are particularly attracted to new growth,” explains David Clark, Park City Nursery manager. Apply a repellant product like Plantskydd (which mimics the smell of decay) to help prevent moose from treating young plants like a salad bar.
Landscape with native varieties like Gambel oak, chokecherry, hawthorn, sumac, and service berry, which are less attractive to moose.
Clean up under your fruit trees before the snow flies. After a long winter, finding fruit when the snow melts in the spring is an irresistible caloric bonanza to moose, but the drunkenness that follows eating the fermented fruit can make these skittish animals even more unpredictable.
If you find that a moose is getting too close for comfort, call the UDWR. Residents north of Interstate 80: 801.476.2740; on the south side of I-80: 801.491.5678.