Snowmobilers reminded to watch for big critters

MARQUETTE – Heavy snowfall across much of the Upper Peninsula this winter is making conditions fantastic for snowmobiling, but not so great for moose and deer, resulting in riders and wildlife winding up on the same trails.

“The deep snow conditions can make using the packed snowmobile trails and roads attractive to wildlife, particularly deer and moose, because using trails makes it much easier for them to move,” said DNR wildlife biologist Brian Roell. “We are getting reports from across the Upper Peninsula about deer and moose not wanting to leave the roadways or trails.”

In portions of Marquette and Baraga counties where moose are concentrated –particularly along Trail Nos. 5 and 14 — snowmobilers are reminded to be on the lookout for moose on the trails.

Trail No. 5 runs north from southern Marquette County past the Silver Lake Basin and the Yellow Dog River, where it connects with Trail No. 14, which runs west past Mount Arvon to L’Anse in Baraga County.

“Moose will use the trails to avoid the deeper snow,” Roell said. “If snowmobilers encounter a moose while riding, they should observe it from a distance and not chase the animal.”

Moose are not frightened by snowmobiles or other vehicles.

“Moose may stand their ground and refuse to leave the trail and could become aggressive,” Roell said. “Trail users encountering a moose on the trail should pick an alternate route or wait for the moose to move out of the trail before proceeding.”

Riders should not approach moose.

“If the animal shows interest by slowly walking towards you, or has its ears laid backwards, or the hairs on its back raised, put some space between you and the moose by backing up or turning around and leaving the area,” Roell said. “There are fines for harassing wildlife. It’s best to remember wildlife always has the right of way.”

For more information on moose in Michigan, go to the DNR’s webpage at Michigan.gov/Moose.

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