ELKO — Drivers on the way to Carlin area mines this week may have seen an unusual animal for Nevada — a bull moose.
A bull moose was spotted near the Newmont Mine road about 15 miles north of Carlin. Mark Hattendorf sent the Elko Daily Free Press photos that his coworker took.
“Given the rarity of moose( sightings) this far south in (Nevada) I thought I might pass these photos along for readers to enjoy,” Hattendorf wrote in his email.
The largest member of the deer family is not a common sight in Nevada, but they aren’t unheard of in the area either, said Joe Doucette, conservation educator for the Nevada Department of Wildlife.
These large herbivores are rare to see in the high desert, but more moose have been in the area this year.
“We have four moose in northeastern Nevada,” Doucette said. “We had one a year ago. It’s happened more frequently. We don’t know why.”
Doucette said most of the moose wandering through Nevada are young bulls, but at least one cow has been seen in the past. The last photo of a moose published in the Elko Daily Free Press was in October 2010. That animal was also a young bull and it was wandering around Wells.
Bull moose tend to stay in one area in the summer, but then wander in search of cows during the breeding season, according to a 2010 article by Larry Hyslop, Free Press columnist.
Barrick Gold Corp. and Newmont Mining Corp. employees are aware of the animal.
Moose have been seen in the area but not on the mine site, said Darek Huebner, environmental manager at Barrick’s Goldstrike property. The company doesn’t track the animals, but employees and others have spotted them.
“They have been seen mostly in the areas around Maggie Creek,” he said.
Newmont employees also are aware of the moose and have shared photos of the animal, said Matt Murray, senior external communications representative for Newmont.
“He is actually near the Pete pit in several of the pictures,” Murray said. “You can actually see the Pete waste dumps in the back ground. I even have a couple pictures of him and there is a haul truck on the north/south haul road.”
Doucette said NDOW doesn’t track the animals but does “try to keep an eye on them.” The department thinks the animal wandered down from Idaho.
He said they are one of the largest animals in North America. A full grown moose can weigh up to 1,800 pounds and stand 7 feet tall at the shoulder, according to the North American Moose Foundation. The antlers can measure 60 inches or more from tip to tip and can weigh in excess of 70 pounds.
“They are the largest antlered animal in North America,” Doucette said. “They can be quite dangerous. Don’t get out of your car and approach them.”
In the 1990s, a bull moose stayed around Tuscarora for three years. It put a person in the hospital for four days, according to Hyslop’s article.