By Wendy Corr, Cowboy State Daily
Wyoming’s moose population is on the rise — and young bull moose looking to strike out on their own are moving farther away from their traditional stomping grounds.
One of these wandering ungulates made his way into downtown Cody on Friday, causing quite a stir among residents.
“Our first report was Thursday afternoon,” said Tony Mong, a biologist with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department in Cody. “We had a report of him up by the landfill road, and I drove up there, and sure enough, there he was. He just crossed the road to the east and then headed off and into the sagebrush there.
“Then about 5 a.m. on Friday morning, we got a report from the Cody PD – he was around the bowling alley,” Mong continued. “And then we got another report Saturday morning about 3 a.m., he was just across from the sheriff’s office.”
Tara Hodges, public information officer for the Wyoming Game and Fish Office in Cody, said that the last time a moose came this close to town was in the fall of 2018.
“We captured and relocated a moose that was near the (Buffalo Bill) Dam October 2018,” she said. “And in January 2017, we captured and moved a moose that was on 17th Street in Cody.”
That’s the closest that any of these animals have gotten to the populated areas around Cody in recent memory, according to Mong. He said the increasing moose population is forcing young males in particular to leave their normal habitat.
“It’s not unusual for these moose to make some pretty big movements during this time of year, especially young bull moose that are getting bullied by bigger bull moose,” Mong explained. “So they want to go find their own place and get away from that harassment and find their own new area.”
The moose that visited Cody last week caused quite a stir among residents. Facebook chatter followed the young bull as he made his way through town.
“I watched him from my dry lot, trot all the way down to the Boot & Bottle field (just west of the Cody City limits), jump both fences at the water plant, scatter the herd of deer there, & disappeared behind the (Cowboy) church,” reported Bernie Butcher.
South Fork resident Erin Geving managed to take a video of the youngster as he made his way across a field, which she posted to social media.
“I think we have to remember that we are surrounded by a significantly vast and wild landscape,” Hodges said. “And we do have the Shoshone River running right through town, which can act as a corridor for wildlife.”
Hodges encouraged residents to contact the Wyoming Game and Fish Department if they see large wildlife in areas where the animals haven’t been spotted before.
“Certainly if you see a moose in developed areas around Cody, we do ask that folks give Game and Fish a call,” she said.