Cow and yearling moose euthanized after vehicle collisions |

Cow and yearling moose euthanized after vehicle collisions

Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers responded to a call Friday, April 22, after a cow moose and a yearling both suffered injuries from collisions with vehicles near the on-ramp of U.S. Highway 40 in Steamboat Springs. Both animals were euthanized.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today

A cow moose and a yearling were euthanized early Friday, April 22, in Steamboat Springs after both animals suffered injuries following collisions with cars, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

The yearling moose was struck Thursday night, April 21, said Rachael Gonzales, the CPW northwest region public information officer.

Wildlife officer Justin Pollock got a call around 9:30 p.m. Thursday and opted to check in on the young animal in the morning.

He learned around 6 a.m. Friday the yearling had a compound fracture above the knee, an injury serious enough to warrant euthanizing it.

However, Pollock didn’t like the position the moose was in, on the east side of U.S. Highway 40 near the intersection of Mt. Werner Road so he left to get a chemical mobilization kit that would allow him to move the moose to a safer place to put it down.

“While I was getting the kit, the cow went across the road, back to the west, towards the river and got hit,” Pollock said.

The collision with the cow occurred near the eastbound on-ramp of U.S. 40 and operations to secure and euthanize the cow could be seen just off the Yampa River Core Trail near Rotary Park on Friday morning.

After addressing the yearling, wildlife officers examined the cow moose, which appeared to have at least one partially-severed Achilles tendon and was showing signs of internal bleeding.

“And she didn’t get up the entire time I was dealing with the other one,” Pollock said.

So, the decision was made to euthanize the cow as well.

The area of U.S. 40 between Pine Grove Road and Walton Creek Road is a high-traffic corridor for moose and other animals as is the area south of town between mile markers 136 and the base of Rabbit Ears Pass.

“In that particular area, I’ve dealt with three this year,” Pollock said, counting the two from Friday morning. “For whatever reason, that whole corridor within a one-mile area has been an issue.”

The driver that hit the cow moose was fine, according to Gonzales, who encouraged motorists to remember that animals are out and about more this time of year.

Removing distractions while driving and ensuring lights are on can help avoid collisions like this in the future, especially with calving season coming up.

“I think this is a good reminder that animals are on the move right now and to be extra vigilant while you’re traveling,” Gonzales said.

Any salvageable meat from the euthanized animals will be donated. CPW donates the meat to a list of people who have called the agency and requested to be added to the list. Any roadkill or seized animals that were illegally acquired gets donated throughout the year.

“It’s a bummer to put them down, but we donate and utilize them as best we can,” said Pollock, adding that it “makes a bad situation into a better situation.”

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