Price County bull moose released from utility wire

DNR wildlife biologists and game wardens set free an adult bull moose in Price County on Sept. 24 with the help of USDA Wildlife Services and Canadian National railroad personnel.

A Canadian National train crew saw a bull moose with copper utility wire wrapped around its antlers alongside railroad tracks east of Phillips on Sept. 24. The wire was still attached to an old utility pole that the moose had broken off. The pole was acting as a drag and prevented the bull from moving freely any distance.

The crew called the DNR’s toll free customer service line. That information was transferred to the DNR’s law enforcement tip line. Wildlife biologists Pat Berenger, of the Park Falls office, and Scott Roepke, of Black River Falls, and game wardens Joe Paul, of Phillips, and Dan Michels, of Park Falls, were given about a one-mile ride down the tracks on Canadian National equipment by the rail crew to reach the moose. A USDA Wildlife Services employeed was also along. Roepke is one of three persons in the state trained to use the chemical that could safely immobilize such a large animal.

Bergenger lured the moose out of cover far enough for Roepke to get a dart into the moose. It went down in about 12 minutes. The crew went in with bolt cutters to remove the wire. Roepke applied the reversal drug and the moose recovered in less than 15 minutes. It walked away.

The moose had been seen several times in the Phillips area prior to it getting wrapped up in the wire. Berenger had received reports of the bull carring a 50- to 60-inch rack. He said it was an adult bull weighing 600 to 700 pounds, but said the rack was not 50 inches wide.

“There could have been 100 things that went wrong, but everything went very well,” he said.

Reliable bull moose sightings have also been reported in Vilas County and Shawano County in the past week.


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