Moose on the loose in Snowmass Village | AspenTimes.com

Moose on the loose in Snowmass Village

A moose was seen in Snowmass Village last summer. There has been an increase in moose sightings in the area this spring, town officials said this week.

Recent moose sightings in Snowmass prompted the Police Department this week to alert folks of the ungulates' presence in the village as well as what to do should one encounter the wild animal.

"We currently have several moose in the village. Give them plenty of space and always keep your dogs on leash. If you are too close, a moose may charge you," read the Snowmass Village Police Department's Facebook post, which includes a photo of a moose from last summer. "If you are being charged, run as fast as you can in the opposite direction and try to get behind a large object."

Snowmass Police Chief Brian Olson estimated Wednesday that two cows (female moose) and their offspring are currently roaming the village.

Olson said Snowmass has experienced an influx in moose visits over the past five years.

The number of sightings as of late is "unusual," Olson said, and comparable only with the summer of 2016, when the village also received a notably higher volume of moose calls.

Moose activity last summer in Snowmass was quieter, he said.

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Since May 20, the town's animal services department has received four moose-specific calls, according to Tina White, Snowmass animal service officer.

Concerned that people would intentionally occupy these areas to catch a glimpse or take a photo of the wild animal, Olson and White were hesitant to share specific locations of recent sightings in Snowmass.

Laurie Smith, also an animal service officer in Snowmass, said the town started posting "moose awareness" signs on the local trails over the past three to five years.

Regarding public knowledge of moose behavior, White said, "People are sort of clueless and they just keep moving on, (acting) like it's a deer or something.

"They don't realize that they're dealing with something very different."

Moose are known to be "unpredictable" and aggressive at times, Olson said.

Specifically, Smith cautioned dog owners or anyone out with a dog, as moose are "much more wary of dogs as a predator."

"We know people are not used to seeing moose on the landscape here in Snowmass Village," Smith said, "and truly, it's a learning experience for us as well as the citizens."

erobbie@aspentimes.com

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