A young female moose died Tuesday after being struck by a car in a hit-and-run accident on Owl Creek Road in Snowmass Village, authorities said.
Snowmass Village Animal Services received a report from a passer-by of an injured moose struggling to get off the road at approximately 10 a.m. Three of the moose’s legs were broken and a Snowmass Village police officer was forced to euthanize it, officials said.
Neither the motorist in question nor the vehicle had been identified as of Tuesday afternoon, but officers found a black, passenger-side mirror from a Honda vehicle at the scene. A driver can be cited for leaving the scene of any accident, said Officer Tina White, of Animal Services.
The Snowmass Village Police Department wants to disseminate information about the accident but mostly with the intent of educating people. Had the driver called officers immediately, the animal wouldn’t have had to suffer so long, White said.
“The message is ... slow down and realize that we have these exquisite animals,” White added.
The moose was struck just below the parking lot for the Tom Blake Trail, where a cow moose recently was sighted. Earlier this summer, a female moose also was spotted with a calf in the area.
Because of the proximity to the trailhead, it seems likely that the animal killed is one recently photographed there. The moose was about 2 years old, weighed about 600 pounds and didn’t look like it had borne calves, said John Groves, of Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
The meat was donated to a local resident.
“We usually try to just make sure the meat gets used,” especially with moose and elk, Groves said. That usually depends on how quickly the officers can respond to the scene.
Vehicle accidents involving moose are not that common in the Roaring Fork Valley, but that could be changing. Moose have been spotted more and more frequently around the valley this summer, especially in the Maroon Creek Valley, where officials closed the trail around Maroon Lake several times to keep tourists from getting too close to the animals. Moose also have been seen on the outskirts of Aspen.
“The potential is there (for car accidents involving moose), and it’s likely to increase as the moose population increases,” Groves said.