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A wild moose chase

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At first glance, it appeared to many to be some sort of a practical joke: a moose cutout strategically placed in the middle of an autumn cornfield?

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And then the creature turned its head.

Ottertail residents were greeted with a surprise visit from an unusual, and by all accounts, majestic visitor on Thursday, September 18. People throughout the Ottertail area reported various sightings of a young bull moose during the day.

At 7 a.m., Ottertail city councilman Don Patrick first reported seeing the moose by Pelican Lake. A few hours later in the day, commuters along Highway 108, by Thumper Pond, were treated to the sight of the bull moose in a cornfield just off the road.

"His rack was up above the corn," recounted councilman Jeff Spanswick during the city's regular city council meeting, held the night of the moose sightings.

Several locals jumped in their vehicles after rumor of the moose spread quickly through the city of Ottertail. With cameras ready, the wild moose chase commenced.

The last reported local sighting of the moose was just north of the city at Rush Lake, where the moose jumped in the water and decided to take a swim.

Don Schultz, DNR wildlife manager, Fergus Falls confirmed that someone saw the moose swimming in Rush Lake. Deputies with the Otter Tail County Sheriff's Department kept an eye on the moose as it traveled through the area, ensuring that the wild animal was kept a safe distance away from humans.

"You don't want to mess with a moose," cautioned Spanswick.

In the state of Minnesota, moose are protected by law. "We do have a moose hunting season by permit in the northeast part of the state only," reported Schultz.

Schultz said that it is not unusual to occasionally spot moose in the Otter Tail lake country. "Young bulls tend to wander out of their territory and often travel long distances," he said.

However, for locals, the sighting was a pleasant surprise. Several speculated that the last time they'd seen such a creature in the area, it was nearly a decade ago.

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