Meandering Moose Breaches Security At Sinclair Oil Refinery

An unauthorized visitor breached security at the Sinclair oil refinery east of Rawlins in the early morning hours Monday – a young bull moose. A security guard who has worked there since 1966, said it's the first time a moose broken into the facility.

Greg Johnson

March 27, 20233 min read

Moose at the refinery
(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

An unauthorized visitor breached security at the Sinclair oil refinery east of Rawlins in the early morning hours Monday.

What appears to be a young bull moose that’s recently shed its antlers found its way onto Sinclair refinery property and inside the security fence. 

While it appeared more bewildered than anything else, a witness who saw the animal say it didn’t appear hurt or that it had done any damage.

Ron Bjork heard about the moose when he started his shift with refinery security at 6 a.m. He later saw the moose himself and was close enough to get a photo of it.

“I work as a security guard here and I came in at 6 in the morning and (Deb Dahlke, another security guard) told me she saw this moose,” Bjork told Cowboy State Daily. “At first, she said nobody would believe her.”

Then Dahlke got a photo, then Bjork. And his image was close enough to see the spots on the animal’s head where his antlers were until recently, along with a yellow ear tag with what appears to be No. 373 or No. 375.

Aside from not knowing where he was, the moose seemed fine, Bjork said.

“When I seen him, he was a little nervous, but not in trouble or nothing,” he said. “He was doing good.”

Asked if the security staff were in for a reprimand for allowing the moose through the refinery’s perimeter, Bjork chuckled.

“Well, I don’t know,” he said. “That’s what we’re supposed to watch for. I don’t know how he accomplished (the break in). I don’t know how tall of a fence they can jump, or maybe he got through a gate by pushing on it. You never know. We have a lot of gates.”

There are other potential spots wildlife can exploit to get inside the fence, Bjork said.

“He could’ve come through the back perimeter area or something, or by the river possibly,” he said.

Bjork said he’s worked at the refinery for much of his professional life since 1966, and part-time since he semiretired more than 20 years ago. In all that time, this is the first moose to find its way inside the fence that he’s aware of.

He also said that as of late Monday morning, wildlife officials with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department had responded to the refinery.

“They’re trying to steer it out somehow,” he said.

With the help of Sinclair personnel, the moose was tranquilized unharmed and was relocated, said Greg Hiatt with Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s Carbon County office.

“It was a good result, and a large part of that was because of the cooperation with the refinery,” Haiti told Cowboy State Daily. “He recovered normally, it was textbook.”

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Greg Johnson

Managing Editor

Veteran Wyoming journalist Greg Johnson is managing editor for Cowboy State Daily.