Ken Theis was driving on Highway 95 after a hunting trip near Orovada when he spotted an animal he had never seen before in Nevada. It was a young bull moose, and it seemed to be making itself at home. Moose sightings in Nevada are not just rare, they border on being tall tales—especially as far west as Paradise Valley, where biologists from the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) said the bull has been living for about a month.
“You kinda gotta do a double-take, when you see something like that,” Theiss told KTVN. “It’s like ‘Oh, you didn’t see that.’ We actually flipped a u-turn and went back and took some pictures.”
Wildlife watchers and hunters have spotted several moose in southeastern Nevada in the past, but the large animals do not usually wander into the state. Biologists believe that this particular bull came from Idaho after leaving its mother. From there, the moose probably followed a stream until it crossed the state border. The animal is not likely to find its new environment to be very favorable, however. A lack of good moose habitat and other members of its species mean that this bull will probably not stay for long.
“These young males are the ones that pioneer out,” NDOW public information officer Chris Healy told The Elko Daily Free Press. “But when he contemplates finding a female moose, he’s going to be out of luck.”
Competition from deer and elk—who are more suited to landscape—will also prevent moose from establishing a more permanent population. However, drought from nearby states could cause a migration into the area. Experts said that the most likely place for moose to gain a foothold in the state is in Jarbidge, in northeastern Nevada.
For now, this bull is drawing an audience of curious onlookers as it meanders through the Nevada desert. Moose are technically game animals in Nevada, although with no population to speak of, there is no season for hunting them. That means that this bull will be protected during his stay in the state.
File image courtesy Ryan Hagerty/US Fish and Wildlife Service