Here’s Why Casper’s Bull Moose Visitor Is Now Antlerless
'Wonka the Moose' is the official name of our large traveling friend.
Reports of seeing the 3 year old mature moose started rolling in to Wyoming Game and Fish Department in the beginning of July and continued the rest of the summer. As the summer continued, the moose moved closer and closer to Casper. He was spotted around Muddy Mountain, Casper Mountain and just this past weekend in Evansville.
This time of year is prime time for moose, it's the rut. During rut, animals like deer, elk and moose start looking for love and will travel quite a way to find it.
Wyoming Game and Fish Department's Wildlife Management Coordinator, Justin Binfet says:
When you get bulls, and he's not a big bull yet, but he's a mature bull. They can get a little aggressive and things like that too. They have a couple instincts, they want to fight and want to look for some ladies
Because Wonka decided to move into the city and because it's rut season, WGFD decided it was best to move him to an area where he would be around other moose and be safe.
This process required Wonka to be tranquilized, have his antlers removed (so he isn't injured during transport), be loaded into a trailer, given medicine to wake up, and be transported to the safe area.
During the capture on Saturday, 7 year old Cami was in Evansville and got a chance to pet the moose while he was tranquilized. She was also given one of his antlers for helping out and the privilege of bestowing our large friend his new name. Without hesitation, the 7 year old said the moose should be named Wonka. So, Wonka it is.
Once he had his new name and his antlers were removed, the crew began the process of loading Wonka into a horse trailer for transport.
The problem is, Wonka had other plans. The rather large and confused moose REALLY likes living in the Casper area and didn't want to leave yet.
WGFD's Janet Milek said they worked with Evansville PD and Natrona County Sheriffs Department to TRY and get Wonka into a horse trailers and taken to a new home. Everything was going smoothly until Wonka decided he wasn't ready to end his stay here.
He was out by the Evansville refinery when we caught up to him. We darted him you know everything went extremely smoothly, he went down in 15 minutes, which is about normal. We able to get to him right away, cut the antlers off, because you don't want them up inside the horse trailer when you transport him. Put some ear tags on him ,that sort of thing, we had a place all ready to go to release him, up where we have some other moose running around.
Once Wonka was loaded into the trailer, the crew gave him "wake up" medicine. Binfet explained that you give the reversal drug to wake them up because you want them standing and alert during transport so he doesn't have long term effects that may occur on the trip.
Once Wonka was on his feet, and before they started transporting him, the determined moose was able to open a hatch on top of the horse trailer and escape like a large furry magician, without any issues. When he got out of the trailer, there was no stopping the massive creature, he was determined to stick around the area a while longer and is once again on the run.
There have been a couple reports that say Wonka was spotted in and around Casper still. If you see him, remember hat you shouldn't approach or attempt to capture Wonka, he's a wild moose and could hurt you.
Game and Fish ask that when you see Wonka, to please let them know. The ultimate goal is still to get him out of town and into an area fit for a moose.
You can call the WGFD Casper office at (307) 473-3400 or Natrona County Sheriff's Office (NON EMERGENCY NUMBER) at (307) 235-9282 with details of where, when and which way he was traveling.
To hear the full story told by Justin Binfet and Janet Milek from WGFD, tune into Wyoming Hookin' & Huntin' Outdoors Sunday at 9am or get it on demand Monday morning.