Rare moose spotting on campus leaves locals puzzled


The young moose was spotted running out of the Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium toward the Wellness Center on Friday.

Josiah Tinklenberg, Reporter

A young bull moose stepped out of bounds just before scoring a touchdown last Friday at Dana J. Stadium.

Well, sort of.

The moose, which was spotted Nov. 5, wandered onto campus before eventually ending up in the stadium. Jonathan Shaeffer, director of football operations, said the moose entered the stadium because the north gate was open for the North Dakota State University football team to set up their locker room.

The animal sprinted down the middle of the field from north to south before stepping out of bounds. He seemed to become confused for a short time before gathering himself and running out the south entrance toward the Wellness Center.

Evan Traxler, a student coach for the football team, was also at the scene. He said he and a few other people were standing on the field when they heard some rattling coming from the stands.

“All of the sudden, like an 8-foot moose just dropped onto the field, landing on his neck,” Traxler said.

The incident had many people asking just how did a moose get to Brookings anyway?

Josh Delger, a regional wildlife supervisor for the Game, Fish and Parks Department in Sioux Falls, said moose showing up in the eastern part of South Dakota was a rare occurrence and usually reported only about once or twice a year.

The moose that was spotted in Brookings was about 800 pounds, Delger said. In other places like Canada, a mature bull moose can get up to 1,500 pounds and run between 20-30 mph. Since moose are so big and fast, Delger said people should never approach them because they can be aggressive.

“Moose can certainly be cool to see, but you should contact the Game, Fish and Parks Department so they can locate it right away,” Delger said.

It is unknown how long the moose was on campus, but Sergeant Jonathan Anderson of the University Police Department said it was at least 12 hours.

UPD officers encountered the animal in the morning on campus moving south into town. Personnel from UPD, the Brookings Police Department, Game, Fish and Parks and the Brookings County Sheriff’s Department managed to herd it north, where it bedded down north of the baseball field and south of the Highway 14 Bypass, Anderson said.

Authorities gathered later in the afternoon to try and herd the animal north out of town, but the moose chose a southerly route into the football stadium. He later headed out of town toward the west, Anderson said. As of Tuesday, he had not heard of any other sightings.

“I believe a moose is a first for most of the officers involved,” Anderson said.