Moose Rescue

CODY, Wyo. Wyoming’s Game and Fish employees saved a moose from starvation last week.

The young bull was trapped at the bottom of the Buffalo Bill dam near Cody.

It took a lot of manpower, and a crane to lift the 900 pound animal from the bottom of a steep canyon.

The Buffalo Bill Dam is more than 300 feet high.

The Shoshone River below is in a very steep canyon.

Wyoming’s Game and Fish Department got several reports about a young bull moose apparently trapped at the bottom of the canyon.

"There’s a real deep pool by the generation area where he couldn’t walk out along the river bottom.” Game and Fish Wildlife Management Coordinator Corey Class explained,

Class said the young bull’s feet were wet and tender, and it had eaten all the food it could find.

“We felt like his condition would continue to deteriorate and that he could eventually die or we would have to euthanize him, his condition got so bad.” He remarked.

Class said the agency came up with a plan, and several Game and Fish employees volunteered to help.

But, darting a bull moose can be a risky operation. You don’t want to be too close to 900 pounds of fear.

But one brave soul did get close enough to dart the moose.

Then, they had to pull the big animal up the side of the steep canyon.

That was done with the help of the Buffalo Bill Power Plant, which
runs the dam’s hydro-electric operation.

Case said, “Once he was immobile, we hooked him into some slings. The power company had some slings and a crane. And we helped guide that sling and crane operation up the side of that steep rock.”

Once they moved the moose up the steep canyon, they had to move him 40 miles away.

Class said they had to give the moose a drug to revive him, so he could stand up in a horse trailer.

They had to do one more thing to keep him from injuring himself in the trailer.

He said, “Sometimes they get a little upset that they are confined. So, for safety we cut the antlers off, for safe transport.”

Paddleless, but otherwise unharmed, the bull was released to safety in an area west of Meeteetse: an area with a lot more food than the bottom of a dam.

Class said if a hunter happened to kill the moose, they couldn’t eat the meat because of the drugs in the animal’s system. They hoped cutting off the bull’s antlers would keep it from being shot.