Game Warden Saves Moose Calf

By on June 2, 2017


A good squint reveals a moose calf stranded underneath the Wilson pedestrian/bike bridge. (Photos: Tiffany Crabtree)

Jackson Hole, WY – For the chicken, there is the age-old dilemma of crossing the road. For the moose in Jackson Hole, the challenge, apparently, is crossing the river. But sometimes a little human intervention is necessary. Game and Fish warden Kyle Lash rescued a calf Thursday on the Snake River that was stranded underneath the Wilson pedestrian/bike bridge.

The calf’s mother watched warily from the shore as her offspring, just a few days old, was repeatedly swept by the river’s fierce current as it tried to make its way across. An onlooker called the sheriff, who then called Game and Fish, and Lash showed up donned in waders. When he realized the water was too deep to walk across, he went home, retrieved a boat, along with his visiting brother-in-law Cody Tully, and the two men paddled out to the distressed calf.

The moose whisperers en route.

Once they were close, the pair jumped out of the boat and took off running through the water. Tully lunged for the calf in veritable baseball fashion, which allowed Lash to make the save. They dried the animal and handed it off to a Teton County Sheriff’s deputy who was standing by. “Then we placed it relatively close to the cow moose,” Lash said. Although the cow “was very agitated, running back and forth,” Lash is confident the two have now reunited.

A sheriff’s deputy carries the calf to safety.

This time of year snowmelt runoff tends to intensify river flow. The past winter’s historic 600-inch snowfall coupled with warm, sunny days has done just that. Although the moose cow repeatedly tried to save her calf, braving the current, river conditions stymied her efforts, Lash said. “Normally we would let them do it on their own but considering the water depths and how swift the current is, we knew we needed to get involved.”

Tiffany Crabtree was among the heartened onlookers who witnessed the rescue. “It was awesome to watch,” she said. “The instinct that [Lash] had—he just took off running.”

It is not uncommon, Lash said, to receive calls this time of year concerning moose calves or deer fawns who appear abandoned, distressed or require some type of aid. But this is his first wildlife boat rescue in his seven years on the job.



About Robyn Vincent

Robyn is the editor of Planet Jackson Hole and Jackson Hole Snowboarder Magazine. When she's not sweating deadlines, she likes to travel the world with her notebook and camera in hand. Follow her on Twitter @TheNomadicHeart

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