Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Taking a lost bull by the horns

The large, furry brown beast sighted in southern Saratoga County over the past week was captured on Tuesday morning.

Bigfoot? No, big all over — with antlers.

The 600-pound bull moose was tranquilized in the backyard of a Dunsbach Road home just before noon by Department of Environmental Conservation officials after a week of sightings in the Clifton Park-Halfmoon area.

The moose first appeared in the yard at sunrise and lumbered around aimlessly until it was shot with a dart. Just after noon, a 10-person team loaded the sedated creature into a trailer for a ride to the Adirondack Mountains.

"The reason we did this is for the safety of the moose and of the public," DEC wildlife biologistEd Reed said. "Moose-vehicle accidents can be nasty."

The animal had been glimpsed in various spots, but on Tuesday it was roughly a mile from the Exit 8 area of the Northway. Besides being a driving hazard, Reed said this is moose mating season and the youngster could have been more aggressive than usual, as is often the case with males of any species that are competing for females.

On Tuesday morning, it lay calmly under a large tree as DEC team members inched toward it. When they closed in, the moose stood up and it was shot in the neck with a bright orange dart. About two minutes later it began to stumble and then stagger before lying down again.

The animal was hooked up to an oxygen tank and its eyes were covered as it slowly drifted into unconsciousness. The team then used a tarp-like carrier to lift the moose into a waiting trailer. It was tagged, its antlers shorn for safety — DEC Police Lt. Chris Ruckert said they would have been shed anyway — and the wait began for the sedation to wear off.

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