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Idaho Fish and Game

A cow moose standing in brush.

Cow moose dies after attempt to relocate out of Twin Falls


Darting and moving wildlife out of urban areas can be a very difficult.

Note: The attached picture of the cow moose is not the moose involved in the Twin Falls incident.

An adult cow moose made its way into Twin Falls in the early morning hours of September 14 after being seen in the Snake River Canyon the day before. During the early morning hours the moose found its way out of the canyon using the Canyon Springs Road, ending up in the area of Costco. Conservation officers from the Magic Valley Region along with Twin Falls City police and Twin Falls Sheriff’s office monitored the situation throughout the night in an attempt to keep the highly agitated moose from crossing city streets and entering the Blue Lakes business district, especially when early morning rush hour traffic was just hours away.

Due to the early morning darkness, darting of the moose with anesthetizing drugs by trained Fish and Game staff was not an option until sunrise.

Prior to sunrise, Fish and Game staff assembled in preparation of darting the moose for relocation.

Darting wildlife has many physical and safety risks, both to the animal but also the staff responsible for carrying out the darting. It is not uncommon for anesthetized wildlife to react erratically.

Once the biologist darted the stressed moose it quickly ran west down the walking path along the canyon rim. This was despite efforts by Fish and Game and Twin Falls City police to keep it contained until the anesthetizing drugs could take effect. 

Unfortunately, while under the influence of the anesthetizing drugs, the moose ran off the walking path and over the rocky cliff onto the Canyon Springs Road where she died.

“Often when we have a moose in an urban setting the stress level of the animal is very high as it tries to find a way out” according to Mike McDonald, Regional Wildlife Manager in the Magic Valley Region, “urban environments also present many challenges to our staff as we make every effort to safely dart wildlife while keeping the public safe. Unfortunately, there are times when even our best-efforts are not enough.”

Because of the type and dose of anesthetizing drugs used to immobilize an animal the size of a moose, the meat could not be processed due to safety concerns for both humans and pets. 

Staff from the Magic Valley appreciate the cooperative efforts with the Twin Falls City police and Twin Falls County sheriff officers who helped throughout this incident.