Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
Sam Penrod ReportingThe heavy snow that keeps piling up is having an effect on wildlife. From deer to elk and moose, wildlife officers are responding to numerous calls about wild animals roaming in people's neighborhoods.
30 head of elk are bedded down in a field near Thanksgiving Point tonight. With the snow deep in the mountains right now, it's driving animals into the valleys and sometimes right into the backyards of people.
One yearling moose has been wandering around Eric Simon's home in Emigration Canyon for several days, but this morning it settled down right on his back porch.
Eric Simon, Emigration Canyon Resident: "With this snow, more and more of them you see them commonly now."
All weekend long calls were coming in about moose ending up in people's yards, requiring them to be tranquilized and transported away from population centers. Wildlife officers say the animals are looking for food in areas not completely buried in snow.
Michael Roach, Division of Wildlife Resources: "We've had light snowfall the last few years while we've been in this drought cycle, so the animals haven't had to come down quite so far. With the heavy snow, now they are really moving down lower than they have in the past few years."
In Utah County a herd of elk was visible from the freeway, and the large bulls were especially getting a lot of attention from onlookers. Wildlife experts say, while the animals may appear tame, they are indeed wild and if you want to watch, keep your distance.
Michael Roach: "Give them their distance, because we don't want animals to run off and hurt themselves."
Wildlife sighting will likely remain common for the next several weeks. Wildlife officers warn it is against the law to harass wild animals.
Michael Roach: "We don't want you chasing them with your snowmobiles or with your ATV’s or even chasing them off your property. We would prefer you to call us if you are having a nuisance problem, where the animals are causing property damage to your land, and we will come remove the animals."
And with deer, elk and moose wandering around neighborhoods there is a good chance they are on the roads, especially at night. So drivers should take precautions in areas were wildlife may be roaming.