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The moose returns

John M. Steiner / The Sun North Dakota Game and Fish Department wildlife officials prepare to lasso this young female moose Tuesday at Sunnyside Trailer Court in Jamestown.The moose was then safely transported to rural Stutsman County and released. See story A2

A young orphaned moose made a return trip to Sunnyside Trailer Court in Jamestown Tuesday. North Dakota Game and Fish Department staff captured the animal and released it outside town.

"It first showed up Friday out at Buchanan," said Jason Smith, big game biologist with the Game and Fish Department. "Sunday we dealt with it at the trailer park."

On Sunday, Smith, along with members of the Jamestown Police Department, "encouraged" the moose to leave the trailer court area toward the north. They herded it across Jamestown Dam and it was last seen in fields north of Jamestown.

Tuesday, Game and Fish Department personnel roped the moose calf and managed to blindfold the animal before loading it on a sled and sliding it to a trailer. From there the animal was transported away from Jamestown and released.

Smith described the moose as a "young of the year," likely born in June. Cow moose usually wean their young off of milk in September each year although the calves commonly stay with their mothers until the next spring when the next calf is born, he said

"Something happened to orphan this calf," he said. "No way to say what happened. Maybe it was taken during hunting season."

U.S. Highway 281 is the western boundary of hunting unit M6, which runs from the South Dakota border to the Devils Lake area. The unit extends east to the Red River and has a quota of 15 licenses.

Smith said moose are relatively rare in this part of North Dakota.

"Moose are doing fairly well in the northwest part of the state," he said.

This moose was thin and not in the best health, Smith said, estimating the animal's weight at about 300 pounds. It had some scrapes and cuts that were not considered life threatening.

"It's hard to say what will happen," he said. "But we wanted to give her the best chance we could."