Sometimes it’s during the most mundane, routine activities that we stumble across something completely unexpected. These moments can make us or break us, depending on the circumstance, or they can allow us to experience something beautiful.
During a break in the snowy winter weather, outdoorsmen from Columbia, Maine, went out for a day of shed hunting.
As they were looking for dropped antlers to add to their collections, they ran into something rather unexpected.
Not far from the road they parked off of, their dog alerted them to an impressive find. However, instead of finding antlers, the dog had discovered an animal in distress.
The men had happened upon a mother Moose, who had managed to get herself stuck in the mud.
However, the situation was more dire than one might expect, as she was submerged up to her neck in a deep spring hole in the swamp. Acting quickly, the two men alerted a game warden.
Before making his way to the scene, Warden Bayley Grant gathered up different straps and ropes, hoping to construct a makeshift moose-rescue kit. Having never dealt with anything similar before, a bit of ingenuity was required for this moose rescue mission.
Grant called for backup and was met by Warden Scott Osgood at the scene. The four men got to work trying to save the moose — who would have either suffocated or starved without their help.
The men first got the front legs unstuck, using a large stick as leverage. This made it possible for them to tie a rope under her front shoulders, allowing them to eventually pull her out. However, this was no easy task.
After the rescue mission, Grant said, “We first tried to haul her out with the four wheeler, but it became clear she was too stuck for that.”
The video below shows the solution that eventually worked: using a ratchet system to winch the moose out, bit by bit.
Once the moose became freed from the mud it attempted to run, but was still detained by the ratchet system. Eventually, the moose settled down and allowed the wardens to remove the straps from its body.
The moose then took off, probably in pursuit of her abandoned calf. She was able to run freely, which meant that it was unlikely she had been trapped for too long.
However, this is an unusual outcome under these circumstances. Following the rescue, the men studied the scene to find that their involvement was absolutely necessary for the animal’s survival.
This moose had been trapped in ten feet of mud and roots, preventing any potential for movement or escape. Without the actions of these brave and caring individuals, this mother would not have survived.
We hope that the moose was able to find her calf and survive the rest of the brutal Maine winter.
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