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Moose becomes regular visitor to Libby neighborhoods

| December 21, 2006 11:00 PM

By GWEN ALBERS Western News Reporter

Libby newcomer Anita Shock saw her fist and only moose years ago. It was from a distance around the wilds of Noxon.

So when Shock, who in October moved here from Yelm, Wash., saw a moose on Wednesday on a Louisiana Avenue lawn, she was amazed.

"I said to my husband, 'what is that I see?'" Shock said. "I'm still speechless. It was just laying there in the sunshine."

She isn't the only one spotting the young cow moose.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has received several telephone calls about the moose in the area of Nevada, Idaho, Main, Montana and Louisiana avenues over the last week.

"It's probably her first year on her own," said Jon Obst, a game warden with FWP in Libby and Troy who has affectionately named her "Lucy the Moosey."

"It probably thinks it's found a neat spot to hang out," Obst continued.

When a moose wanders into town, it normally doesn't stay long. That's what Obst hopes will happen with the moose.

00020000064600000490640,"We looked at it as a concern," he said. "We don't like moose in town with people. They can be pretty cranky."

In the meantime, Obst reminds residents it's illegal to feed the moose or let dogs chase it.

Feeding it also could mean she will stick around longer.

"She could get acclimated to people and we could have problems down the road. When it's cold in the wintertime, moose get a little stressed. And with more dogs around, it could get chased. Our biggest concern is it could run onto Highway 2."

If the moose becomes a concern for public safety, FWP could move it elsewhere.

"If they see it, enjoy," Obst said. "Take pictures, but don't try to feed it apples. It's a wild animal."

Resident Julie Burkett has photographed the young cow walking around her Nevada Avenue yard and eating from the trees. Her 3-year-old granddaughter, Katie Harper, is fascinated by it.

"She thinks it's really cool," Burkett said.

Her neighbor Joann Clark looks forward to seeing the moose daily.

"She's here every day. It's exciting," Clark said. "I didn't see a moose for a long long time and now I get to see one up close. It's usually trying to get to the branches on the mountain ash trees."

Patty McLain, another Nevada Avenue resident, saw the moose on Monday and Tuesday.

"She had her butt up against the window," McLain said. "Needless to say, my little kitties were freaked out."

When McLain's 13-year-old daughter, Kelsey, spotted the moose, she yelled for her mother.

"She's so cute. She has no fear and she's big enough," McLain said. "It's a beautiful country when you have moose in your front yard."