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UPDATED: Bull moose makes it to shore near Ruttger's

A bull moose was spotted in Lake Bemidji on Saturday morning. (Jillian Gandsey | Bemidji Pioneer)1 / 5
A bull moose was spotted in Lake Bemidji on Saturday morning. (Jillian Gandsey | Bemidji Pioneer)2 / 5
People watch as the moose swims west on Lake Bemidji. (Jillian Gandsey | Bemidji Pioneer)3 / 5
The moose could be seen through the trees along Lake Boulevard. (Jillian Gandsey | Bemidji Pioneer)4 / 5
Bemidjians watch from Diamond Point Park as the moose swims to the west on Lake Bemidji. (Jillian Gandsey | Bemidji Pioneer)5 / 5

BEMIDJI -- It was a happy ending for a bull moose struggling to find its way out of Lake Bemidji on Saturday.

At about 9 a.m. the moose was standing in the west side of the lake near Library Park and eventually, at about 3:30 p.m., he found an exit just east of Ruttger’s Birchmont Lodge.

David Rave, Area Wildlife Supervisor for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, said the moose had recently been spotted around the Bemidji area.

“It had been seen two days ago north of Shevlin and yesterday it was out by the airport and this morning, apparently, it ended up in the lake,” Rave said.

Rave also added that this is fairly normal behavior for a bull moose at this time of the year.

“They’re going into their breeding season right now which they call the rut and so the males begin to do these big walk arounds where they’re looking for females,” Rave said.

He said the moose would likely either head back northeast or northwest of Bemidji and that there are moose in both of those areas. Rave said that if anyone does spot the moose, they can call his office at (218) 308-2336.

“He looked to be a big adult, very healthy moose, and did not look like he had brainworm,” Rave said. “Brainworm is that disease that tends to kill the moose but this one doesn’t look like he has that.”

He added that anyone who does encounter the moose should stay back and leave it alone.

A conservation officer with the DNR joined the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office, which used a watercraft to try and guide the moose to shore. They eventually led him to the north end where he was able to get out and cross Birchmont Beach Road Northeast.

“They kept trying to push it up on shore to get it to go and relax and perhaps sleep because it had done a lot of swimming,” Rave said.

Police were present in the morning on Lake Boulevard Northeast along with many Bemidjians hoping to snap a photo of the rare sight. As he was guided north a small crowd formed at Diamond Point Park.

Beltrami County Emergency Management issued the following statement on Saturday morning:

“Emergency services today have been dealing with a large moose that is taking a swim in Lake Bemidji. Obviously the moose is attracting a lot of attention. If you are in the area do not impede traffic and observe safely. If the moose comes to shore STAY AWAY FROM THE MOOSE. Their behavior can be unpredictable, especially if it comes to shore in an area with buildings and people.”

Jillian Gandsey

Jillian Gandsey is the Multimedia Editor at the Bemidji Pioneer. She is an Iron Range native and a 2013 graduate of Bemidji State University. Follow Jillian on Twitter and Instagram @jilliangandsey. Contact her at 218-333-9786, 218-996-1216 or at 

(218) 333-9786