Moose with antler debris may need help

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SANDY RIVER PLANTATION – A moose reported to have a 10-foot-long plastic pipe stuck onto its left antler may need help, a wildlife biologist said.

The moose with the large, 4-inch diameter PVC pipe that appears to be attached with yellow string or tape, was last seen on the access road to Saddleback ski area during the last week.

“The biggest danger is if the pipe gets snagged,” said Chuck Hulsey, the regional wildlife biologist for the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife in Strong. Hulsey would like to get a look at the moose before deciding if a tranquilizer should be used to immobilize it in order to remove the pipe.

But first, he needs to find the moose.

“The hardest thing is for it to be there when we get there,” he said. Local game warden Reggie Hammond also received reports of the unfortunate moose but hasn’t seen it himself after going and looking for it.

Most moose won’t lose their antlers until the first of the year. A few may take as long as until the end of January before losing the head gear. In the meantime, the longer the moose has the long pipe stuck, the more chance it has of getting it caught in the heavily wooded areas surrounding the ski area.

However, tranquilizing a moose is not without risk, Hulsey said. Once a moose is rendered unconscious and the debris removed, the biologist needs to wait a few hours until it is fully recovered. Weather conditions need to be right too.

“Stress is the biggest killer,” Hulsey said. If the moose panics and runs or it’s above 55 degrees is may be too hot. All these considerations need to be taken into account and balanced against the odds the pipe will cause a real problem before antlers drop off.

But, before any of those decisions can be made, Hulsey needs to see the moose. If anyone comes across the moose with a pipe attached, immediately call in a message for Hulsey at 778-3324, ext. 25 or email him at: charles.hulsey@maine.gov or leave a message for Hammond at 1-800-452-4664.

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