Anglers save baby moose from Big Hole River

2013-06-06T09:40:00Z 2013-06-06T22:28:47Z Anglers save baby moose from Big Hole RiverBy Martin Kidston of The Missoulian Montana Standard

The baby moose looked like it was born that day, small and frail, about 25 pounds. Thanks to two fast-acting anglers on the Big Hole River, the little moose will live another day.

Karen Sciascia, a practicing gynecologist from Pennsylvania who has delivered thousands of human babies, and Twin Bridges river guide Seth McLean, were fishing the Big Hole this week when they encountered a cow moose with a calf.

The river was swollen and flowing fast. The two animals were looking for a way across.

“We were watching this adult female struggling back and forth, and we didn’t see a baby until we got close,” Sciascia said. “Mom kept pushing – the current was pretty swift. The mother bolted and took off across the river. She was trying to get across the main portion of the channel, and even she struggled.”

As Sciascia tells it, the mother made it across the swift river. The calf was soon to follow. It left its rocky perch and stepped into the water.

When it hit the current, however, the small calf was swept away. The force of the water sent it tumbling downstream.

“It was small and the river was swift,” Sciascia said. “We lost sight of the baby. It was hurtling downstream and was being pushed by the river. It was too small to ever fight the current.”

The cow looked on from the distant bank as the river carried away its calf. Sciascia and McLean set their raft into the current and raced downstream, beginning their own search for the newborn.

It wasn’t easy to spot, as small as it was. When they saw it, it was ready to go under for what they feared would be the last time. The clock was ticking.

“We found it with its little nose just above the water,” Sciascia said. “We got up alongside it and I just grabbed the little bugger. I scooped it up from the river under its front legs.”

A photo snapped in the moment will forever preserve the adventure – a fast river, great fishing, an inflatable raft and a dripping wet moose calf no bigger than a large dog.

“I tried to hold it out, not wanting to get my scent all over it, but it was basically limp,” she said. “It was breathing, and with my hand on its chest, I could feel its heart beating real fast.”

McLean turned the raft back against the current and rowed upstream. They reached the bank where the mother had disappeared into the woods, then reappeared at the sound of her bleating calf.

The small animal was crying. It sounded like a puppy, Sciascia said. She’d never heard anything like it. But then again, she’d never held a moose.

“When we last saw her, we were heading downstream,” she said. “The mother was heading toward it. She had come out of the woods and was heading toward her baby.”

Four Rivers Fishing Co. posted the story on its Facebook page Wednesday. Nearly 200 people had “liked” news of the rescue by afternoon, not to mention one cow moose and her calf.

“Having delivered so many babies, it was like every other day to me, though it was a different modality,” said Sciascia. “It was cool to be in the right place at the right time.”

— Reporter Martin Kidston can be reached at 523-5260, or at martin.kidston@missoulian.com.

Copyright 2016 Montana Standard. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

No Comments Posted.

Civil Dialogue

We provide this community forum for readers to exchange ideas and opinions on the news of the day. Passionate views, pointed criticism and critical thinking are welcome. Name-calling, crude language and personal abuse are not welcome. Moderators will monitor comments with an eye toward maintaining a high level of civility in this forum. Our comment policy explains the rules of the road for registered commenters. If you receive an error after submitting a comment, please contact us at editor@mtstandard.com.

If your comment was removed or isn't appearing online, perhaps:

  1. You called someone an idiot, a racist, a dope, a moron, etc. Please, no name-calling or profanity (or veiled profanity -- #$%^&*).
  2. You rambled, failed to stay on topic or exhibited troll-like behavior intended to hijack the discussion at hand.
  3. YOU SHOUTED YOUR COMMENT IN ALL CAPS. This is hard to read and annoys readers.
  4. You have issues with a business. Have a bad meal? Feel you were overcharged at the store? New car is a lemon? Contact the business directly with your customer service concerns.
  5. You included an e-mail address or phone number, pretended to be someone you aren't or offered a comment that makes no sense.
  6. You accused someone of a crime or assigned guilt or punishment to someone suspected of a crime.
  7. Your comment is in really poor taste.

NOTE: Our comment policy has recently changed. Real names will now display next to comments you post. If you are a current user, you can update your profile to include your real name by logging into the site here.

Add Comment
You must Login to comment.

Click here to get an account it's free and quick

Montana Standard News Topics