Moose calf frees itself after getting trapped in barbed-wire fence near Steamboat
June 2, 2012
Steamboat Springs — A baby moose drew a crowd of worried onlookers just south of Steamboat Springs on Friday after it became trapped in a barbed-wire fence.
"Somebody came in and said, 'Help, there's a baby moose stuck in the fence,'" said Rene Coleman, who works at the Shop and Hop convenience store across from where the moose was stuck along U.S. Highway 40.
Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife officers learned about the moose shortly before noon Friday.
"We didn't really see where the moose calf was, but we had a witness that told me the general area it was in, so I went out and tried to find it and ended up walking past it without even seeing it in the wet marshy grass," District Wildlife Manager Danielle Domson said.
The calf's mother then reappeared. Obviously stressed, she paced and ran through the field, occasionally stopping by the fence where her calf was trapped. From U.S. 40, you could just see glimpses of the calf moose's head rising above the grass.
Other moose were in the area, so Domson kept her distance.
"More than bear or any other wildlife besides maybe mountain lions, moose are the most dangerous," Domson said. "Even I was a little afraid that I was in a bad spot. I didn't have a tree to climb or anything to put between me and the mom if she decided to come after me."
The calf moose ended up freeing itself from the fence and walking away into the willows with its mother. If that had not happened, Domson said they likely would have had to tranquilize the cow and maybe the calf so they could free it from the fence.
"It ended up a good success story with a good happy ending," Domson said.
She said the drainage area is a popular congregating spot for moose, but she said people should not gather there and place unnecessary stress on the animals.
"That's when they can be even more dangerous — when they're cornered or stressed," Domson said.
To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com