A rare moose sighting in western Minnesota, near the town of Barnesville, ended tragically for the animal, which died after it was smoked by several vehicles around 4:45 a.m. Wednesday morning.
Less than 100 moose live in the northwestern part of the state, but they don't usually make it as far away as Barnesville, which is actually a bit south of the Fargo-Moorhead area.
Here it is on a map. Compare with the moose range map at the top of this post:
We asked Ross Hier, the DNR's Crookston-based wildlife manager, why a moose would be in the Barnesville area.
"There are moose in very low numbers in the NW," Hier replied in an email. "I'm not sure what the gender of the Barnesville moose was but would expect it to be a bull as they move a great deal in Sept and early Oct. A shame for all parties involved."
Hier's "shame" comment refers not only to the death of the moose, but also the fact that a 51-year-old woman had to be hospitalized from injuries she sustained while crashing into a member of the species that is Minnesota's largest wild animal. (Information about the woman's hospitalization comes via a Star Tribune report.)
We asked Hier what might've motivated the moose to be in the Barnesville area.
"Moose in this part of the world rut in Sept, thus males are often moving about looking (smelling for) cows," he replies in an email. "In general, males (especially young males) often move away from the areas they were born to establish new 'territories.'"
A car-on-moose collision would be less newsworthy in the northeastern part of the state, where as of last year over 2,000 of the animals lived.