Avid snowmobilers are treated to many exhilarating sights as they speed across the snowy winter landscape. Open skies, towering trees, ice-frosted foliage, and gently sweeping vistas paint a breathtaking picture of nature in all its seasonal glory.
One spectacle that doesn’t often make the list? A moose head sticking out of the snow.
Yet that’s exactly what a group of snowmobilers recently encountered while exploring the trails near Deer Lake, a town in western Newfoundland. They spied the creature’s sizable noggin poking through freshly fallen powder — and it was clearly in considerable misery.
Snowmobiler Jonathan Anstey was among the group of roughly eight riders. He owns a local snowmobile riding clinic, and his party had wanted to take advantage of the thickly blanketed terrain.
“When a moose gets distressed, they pin their ears back, their hair stands up on their back, and they lick their lips a lot,” explained Anstey. “You could tell he was extremely distressed.”
Anstey estimated that the moose had become virtually buried in a bog hole filled with about six feet of snow. The animal was attempting to climb free, but its back legs appeared to be tightly wedged in place.
“We knew the moose was stuck really good,” Anstey told media outlets. “He tried several times to get himself out of the hole, but he wasn’t getting anywhere.”
So Anstey’s group did what any highly experienced outdoorsmen would do in a similar situation. They grabbed their shovels, and quietly moved to the rear side of the moose to avoid its frightened flaying.
Video footage shows them scooping out an exit path behind the exhausted creature — and the brief snippet is quickly going viral across social media. “After he realized he wasn’t moving,” said Anstey, “he just kind of stopped and lay down.”
One member of the group slowly coasted over on a snowmobile, carefully coaxing the moose to turn around. Once it realized solid footing was beneath it, the moose was able to regain its freedom.
According to Anstey, the newly liberated moose even lingered near its rescuers for a bit, discreetly glancing their way as it waited for its fur to dry. Then it trotted off into the wintery white expanse.
Anstey cautioned other snowmobilers who encounter similar situations to contact trained officials immediately.
Although he himself has rescued one other moose, he stressed that this particular snowmobile group consisted of extremely practiced outdoor enthusiasts.
“You don’t really want to get close to a big animal like that,” he said, “as they can charge or do a lot of damage.”
Anstey also mentioned that he preferred not to interfere with wild animals any more than absolutely necessary.
The unassuming hero explained that he simply wants to be known for his back-country riding proficiency. “We do what we need to do to help the wild as much as possible,” he added, “and give them their space.”
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