by Josie Brownell

A Friend Found in Hailey by Joan Sheets.

A Friend Found in Hailey by Joan Sheets.

Our valley received its 15 minutes of fame last weekend when a moose fell through the well window of a home in Hailey. Idaho Mountain Express quickly picked up the story, and the scared moose made national news Monday when the story appeared in The Washington Post.

A number of our staff have also had moose and elk walk up against the sides of their homes in order to avoid the deep snow. We’ve even had a young moose wandering around our office—just last week this moose almost walked up onto our porch.

Thanks to local law enforcement and the staff from Idaho Fish and Game, the moose from the basement incident wound up walking away safely, making for a sweet story. But this incident highlights the struggles that wildlife in our valley are facing during this incredibly harsh winter.

Bull Moose at Loving Creek by Michael Olenick.

Bull Moose at Loving Creek by Michael Olenick.

For many, it’s neat to have such steady wildlife sightings, but the wildlife see this winter as a time of starvation and struggle. The deep snow is driving them away from their typical food sources in the hills, and onto the valley floor where humans are taking pity on them and feeding them the wrong foods.

The other day we were notified that someone had put apples and broccoli stems in a cardboard box for the animals in one of our most popular preserves, a piece of land that can see hundreds of visitors and pets every day.

While it is a nice thought, providing food for potentially aggressive animals, such as moose, in high use areas is dangerous. It has the potential to draw wildlife to densely populated areas, only to be disturbed by walkers, runners, and hyper dogs.

Below are a few ways to help our wildlife stay safe and to help you stay up-to-date on the well being of the animals:

  1. Idaho Fish & Game has set up an elk feeding station near Ketchum – read more here.
  2. Keep curious dogs on leash when close to vulnerable herds – more on that here.
  3. Be especially careful in areas of East Hailey, like Quigley Canyon, or to the west in Della View, the new Colorado Gulch Preserve or the Draper Wood River Preserve.