PHOTO GALLERY - Moose on the loose in Walla Walla

A trio of the back-country behemoths spent the morning eluding officers and trundling through neighborhoods.



A mother moose and two calves spend a frosty morning grazing in a small field that is part of a mobile home park east of Plaza Way Thursday morning.


A mother moose and her two calves graze in a field behind a row of mobile homes off Plaza Way Thursday morning, February 3, 2011 in Walla Walla, Wash.


Five Department of Fish and Wildlife officers discuss their plans after a mother moose and two calves evaded their attempts to keep them traveling south on railroad tracks and out of town Thursday morning. The moose ran into a cul-de-sac off Whitney Road surrounded by fencing that officers hoped to keep them from jumping.


Followed closely by her two calves, a mother moose trots to the next hole at the Walla Walla Country Club Thursday morning. The trio of moose were found grazing outside a mobile home off Plaza Way this morning and local law enforcement spent the morning attempt to herd them south and out of town.


A Department of Fish and Wildlife officer attempts to turn a mother moose and two calves around and move them back toward railroad tracks between Plaza Way and South Third Avenue Thursday morning.


A home hunting moose, followed by her two calves, walks a railroad track betwen Plaza Way and South Third Avenue Thursday morning.


Department of Fish and Wildlife officer Mike Johnson cellpones a partner as a mother moose crosses Whitney Road east of the Walla Walla Country Club with her two calves close behind on Thursday morning. Johnson and members of the Department of FIsh and Wildlife, Walla Walla County Sheriff, and City of Walla Walla Police worked to herd the moose south and out of town throughout the morning after residents of a mobile home park woke up to find the moose grazing in their yards this morning.


A mother moose runs along Country Club Road Thursday morning with her two calves following close behind as law enforcement follows closely, attempting to herd her south of town.


Pursued by Department of Fish and Wildlife officers and local law enforcement, a mother moose and two calves runs along Country Club Road between the Walla Walla Country Club driving range and the clubhouse Thursday morning.


A local law enforcement officer throws his arms up to attempt to keep a mother moose and two calves from travelling further west on Highland Road Thursday morning.


A young boy watches a trio of moose graze in a field behind his home Thursday morning. His father said he was afraid of the moose and kept asking if they were gone before he would come out.


A mother moose and her two calves stand in a fallow field near the corner of Plaza Way and Whitney Road Thursday morning as a Department of Fish and Wildlife officer and Walla Walla County Sheriff vehicle attempt to move farther west to keep the moose from heading into more densely populated neighborhoods.

WALLA WALLA -- It was thought at first that the three moose that caused numerous road detours and closures today on the south end of town made their way down from the Blues sometime in the early mornings hours.

It is also likely, Fish and Wildlife Officer Mike Johnson said, that they came from the very area they ended up in, Cottonwood Creek.

One thing is for sure, their presence brought awareness that Walla Walla is a small city surrounded by what is predominately rural and sometimes wild land.

"I came to get my kids out to school and my son was like 'that's a horse. That's a little horse.' And I said, 'No. I think that's a moose,'" said Anthony Williams, a resident of Plaza Estates mobile home park, 1809 Plaza Way.

Sometime around dawn, residents said the cow and two calves ambled their way through the trailer park, then settled on the lawn of the south wing of Quail Run Retirement Home, 1701 Plaza Way, which is where Williams and his family encountered the wild beasts.

Police officers, sheriff's deputies and Fish and Wildlife officers were called in to herd the three back to the Blues. It was speculated by some that a railroad track running east behind the trailer part was most likely how the moose made it so far in town.

And a couple hours later, the moose were herded east along the tracks and toward the Blues.

But even the best laid plans of moose and men often go awry.

Up ahead on Whitman Road, a utility crew was unaware of the plight of cow and calves. Though no one, except the mother moose herself, can say for sure why, the cow turned abruptly south and headed down John Court. Her calves, like small children often do, poked behind her, distracted by every noise, movement and gawking bystander.

Eventually, all three settled on an empty lot with a Coldwell Banker sign on it, perhaps inspecting a the view of the Blues, which was enough for a cow that stood an estimated 7 feet tall.

There trapped in a mostly undeveloped cul-de-sac, with a small vineyards and a bluff at the end, where the three would spend their next half-hour.

Staged at a critical outlet to the southeast was Walla Walla County Sheriff's Sgt. Kent Boyd, who was heard to say, " I think we should stay tight. We have four wildlife guys out there. I think they can come up with a game plan."

According to deputies, the game plan would not involve a tranquilizer gun because the only person with the authorization and gun was in Spokane. But it should be noted that this could not be verified by Fish and Wildlife personnel, as they were busy trying to herd a cow and two calves.

What the game plan did include were Fish and Game personnel armed with paint guns, ready to scare the mother and calves in the right direction, which was supposed to have been southeast toward the Blues.

Perhaps the towering mother caught a glimpse of a great expanse of green lawns, because rather than head back out the cul-de-sac and turn east, she headed west over a backyard, across Plaza Way and onto the green.

It was quite a sight for Kim Joseph and her dog Sunny, especially since her house had the perfect view, as it looks over the bluff at the dead end of John Court.

"He's been growling at them for a while," Joseph said about Sunny.

The two watched through the glass window of their back desk, as the cow seemed to step over what looked like a 5-foot fence. The calves had to do more of a jump.

Eventually, they made it to the golf course, across the green and into a hay field, heading toward the highway.

But eventually, Fish and Wildlife officers rerouted the moose south across Highland Road, Taumarson Road and beyond, so that eventually around noon they ended up back at Cottonwood Creek.


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