Alaska: Moose rescued from Chilkat River the cowboy way

From: Anchorage Daily News

DeWitt, who works on a state road crew, was driving a loader up the Haines Highway about 7:30 a.m. Friday when he overheard a radio conversation about a moose stuck in the ice near Mile 15.

He figured Fish and Game would handle the situation, but when he arrived 45 minutes later, he found the animal smashing itself against the ice, trying to ram its way out of a hole midway across a 100-foot channel.

“(Fish and Game) didn’t know what to do. I decided to take the bull by the horns. It was right out there in the middle of God and everybody,” said DeWitt, who was joined by other motorists who’d seen or heard of the situation, including Mike Kinison and freelance wildlife photographer Ron Horn.

The cow’s thrashing expanded the size of the hole and eliminated thin ice, giving rescuers confidence in the strength of the ledge that remained. At first, the moose rebuffed help attempts, swimming away when rescuers drew near. Eventually, she seemed to warm to resident Bud Stewart, lifting her head up out of the water to his outstretched hand and allowing him to pet her several times on the nose.

Using a rope Stewart brought from his house, the men lassoed the cow’s snout and eventually got a line around her neck.

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“She never made a peep or a snort or gave us a foul look or nothing. She just laid there as peaceful as can be,” DeWitt said.

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