Earlier this week, Karen Sciascia was on Montana’s Big Hole River with 4 Rivers Fishing Co. guide Seth McLean when they came to the aid of a drowning moose calf that was trying to cross to reach its mother.
A Missoulian article says Sciascia, was fishing from McLean’s drift boat when they saw an adult moose crossing the river, but didn’t realize a 25-pound newborn was following until they drifted closer. At this time of year, western rivers are swollen with mountain snowmelt and eventually the swift current swept the calf away.
“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,” Sciascia said.
McLean rowed downstream, searching for the calf, while its mother paced downstream along the shoreline doing the same. Sciascia was able to spot the calf’s nose before it went underwater again and gave Mclean direction. When they were close enough, she wrangled the calf under its front legs and clutched it over the boat gunwale.
“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 pushed his boat back against the current, rowed to shore, and reunited momma with her young. Then they got back to plying the river for trout.