March 29, 2023 |

Photo – Moose in HF Parco Sinclair Refinery grounds – Courtesy Ron Bjork of Rawlins

A moose was on the loose at the Sinclair Refinery.

The largest member of the deer family, moose are a common sight in Carbon County’s mountains. On Monday morning, a young bull moose was spotted in an uncommon location: The Sinclair Refinery.

The moose was spotted on the refinery grounds sometime around 5:30 am, Monday morning. Greg Hiatt, the Wyoming Game and Fish Wildlife Biologist for Sinclair, arrived shortly afterwards. Hiatt said by that time, refinery workers had calmly herded the moose into a safe area.

Hiatt said he was able to successfully fire a tranquilizer dart into the moose. Afterwards, with the help of several refinery workers, Hiatt was able to hoist the several hundred-pound moose onto an awaiting truck. The animal was driven out of town and woken up in a more secluded location. Hiatt said the whole experience went according to plan.

Hiatt said he and East Rawlins Game Warden Linnea Sailor had the idea to lead the animal out of the refinery. One look at a satellite image of the area made them reconsider their options. Hiatt said sedating the moose was the only safe way to remove it from the premises.

The moose has been monitored by Wyoming Game and Fish since December. The animal had moved north from the Little Snake River Valley until it found itself in Sinclair. Hiatt said the migration path isn’t too uncommon for a young bull moose.

Hiatt said before Monday, people reported seeing a moose near Fort Steele. The Game and Fish biologist said it was likely the same animal.

In summer, moose tend to congregate in green areas near a water source. In winter, moose come down from the mountains in search of willow trees. Hiatt said the moose may have wandered into Sinclair in search of food.

The place Hiatt relocated the moose to had a stand of willow nearby. He said when the animal woke up, it began eating the trees. The wildlife biologist said he was worried the moose would mistakenly try to walk onto the icy river.

Hiatt said in his 45-years with the Wyoming Game and Fish department, he has only seen one other moose stray into town. He said moose go where they think food and water are.

An angry moose is extremely dangerous. Hiatt said he was thankful the Sinclair workers were able to keep the animal calm until he could safely relocate it.

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