Near dusk at the Ogden-based university, school photographers caught an image of a moose wading in the duck pond, drawing oohs and awws from not only eyewitnesses but those who saw the picture on social media.
Kevin Blanch, who frequents the school’s library for his research projects, tells ABC4.com that he was shocked to see a moose on campus.
“Weber State’s built into the side of a mountain, so we have a lot of animals on that campus, deer always getting killed,” he says, stating he’s been studying in the library since the late 60s. “I’ve even seen Bobcats there, but never moose.”
Blanch says shortly after a crowd had gathered to observe the antlered animal in the manmade water feature, Weber State campus police, Ogden City Police, as well as officials from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR), arrived on the scene to observe and monitor the situation.
The moose remained in the water for some time, with those watching and waiting unsure what the next move would be.
An experienced outdoorsman, Blanch figured the moose would look to leave the water once it went dark. Sure enough, after the sun went down, the animal made its move towards Harrison Blvd.
In his recollection, Blanch says police were anticipating the moose’s movement and were attempting to block traffic, but the animal’s speed and the dark of night made it impossible to completely clear the road.
The moose didn’t make it across the road, one of Ogden’s busiest.
“He made it almost all the way across and then on that last lane – you know how people drive on Harrison – boom, hit him,” Blanch remembers.
Officials from the DWR confirmed that the moose had to be humanly euthanized after the collision.
“We should wish it would have headed east up towards the foothills but unfortunately it chose not to and ended up out in traffic,” DWR Outreach Manager Mark Hadley tells ABC4.com.
While the pictures of the animal in an urban setting were very striking to viewers, Hadley explains that this is the time of year when moose occasionally make their way down the mountain. He says the DWR’s best guess is that the bull in the duck pond was kicked out of his herd by a bigger, more dominant bull due to the onset of mating season.
DWR officials considered a number of options to safely relocate the moose, but were unable to do much besides form a perimeter and hope it avoided the road. Tranquilizing the moose was not a possibility as officials fears the animal would drown if put to sleep in the water.
Hadley states this is a good example to remind residents that moose, while seemingly docile, can actually be an aggressive creature. It’s best to give them their distance he says.
“If you get too close to a moose, and the animal feels that feels threatened by you, it will try to eliminate the threat,” he cautions. “So that could be a really bad situation for somebody to get themselves into.”
Once the injured moose had been put out of his misery on Wednesday night, DWR officials were able to reach out to a nearby family that had been looking for some moose meat. Hadley states the family was able to recover the meat from the misplaced moose right there on Harrison Blvd.
“They were able to get the meat out of the animal and now they’ve got it home where they can enjoy it with the family,” he says.