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KEYSTONE, Colo. (KDVR) — Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers said a bull moose has died after getting entangled in snowmaking electrical cords at Keystone Ski Resort.

“Aww man he could have gone anywhere else on the slopes that day but it’s curious animals checking out man’s creations,” John Livingston, the Public Information Officer with CPW said. 

The incident happened last week. Livingston said an onlooker saw the moose tangled and contacted workers at Keystone Resort right away. Those employees contacted CPW but by the time they got back to the moose, just about 10 minutes later, it had already died. 

“I don’t know if the cord was on the ground or up hooked up to the machine but likely the moose was looking to rub its antlers on it,” Livingston said. 

Livingston said the moose either died because of stress and physical exertion trying to free itself or because of asphyxiation with the cord around its neck. 

The moose, he said, was a good size around 800 to 1,200 pounds. 

“It is a lot of stress when an animal gets caught like that, they working hard putting in energy to break free,” Livingston said. 

Vail Resorts, the company that owns and operates Keystone Resort, told CPW they’ve had these machines stored like that for the past 25 years and never had anything like that happen before. Livingston said they are now working with the resort on possibly covering the machines and wrapping the cords so something like this can be prevented in the future. 

“No one has seen this happen at one of our ski resorts here in Summit County,” Livingston said. 

Right now, moose are in rut season which means they are rubbing their antlers on things like branches and trees to shed the velvet. He said this tragedy should come as a reminder for those who share their backyards with wildlife. That means he said keeping light cords tight and people should look around their property for risks. 

“They are curious creatures,” Livingston said. 

We reached out to Vail Resorts about the entanglement. Here is the statement shared with FOX31:

“This was a sad and rare accident. Even still, we are looking at more we can do in the future to prevent rare events like this from happening at all. We notified Colorado Parks and Wildlife immediately when the moose was discovered and removed the moose under their guidance and direction.”

“The moose was located near the mid-station of the River Run Gondola, and as part of the guidance we received from CPW, we received approval to move the moose a short distance into a wooded area just below where it was found, to dress the moose in order to be able to donate the meat.”

Wildlife entanglements

Here are some things wildlife have become entangled in, according to CPW:

  • Tricycles
  • Tires
  • Garden cages
  • Clotheslines
  • Plastic fencing
  • Lawn chairs
  • Playground equipment
  • Soccer nets
  • Christmas lights

Helpful tips:

  • Place lights and other decorations above six feet or attached tightly to trees and buildings
  • Lights that hang low or that are draped insecurely over vegetation can get tangled easily in antlers
  • Report any wildlife entanglement immediately and don’t try to intervene by yourself

Residents on the Front Range can call CPW’s Denver office at 303-291-7227 to report entangled wildlife, or if elsewhere in the state they can look up their local CPW office. If wildlife offices are closed, residents are asked to call Colorado State Patrol at 303-239-4501 and ask for the on-call wildlife officer.