On the morning of Wednesday, June 22, Idaho Fish and Game responded to a call about an adult cow moose and her year-old male calf discovered behind Bisharat Market in Inkom, a suburb of Pocatello.
According to a news release from the department, Fish and Game personnel darted both moose with tranquilizers to load the animals in a trailer for transport and release out of the immediate area. The tranquilizing drugs used typically take effect in a moose within three to five minutes.
The small bull moose succumbed to the tranquilizer drug fairly quickly. The adult female, however, jumped a fence after being darted and ended up staggering into Rapid Creek that runs through town.
Worried that she would take in water and possibly drown, Fish and Game personnel jumped in with the moose and worked to keep her head above water. They carried her about 100 feet before several department personnel and a couple of bystanders were able to pull her from the water.
Fish and Game biologists worked to revive the moose. They administered a drug to reverse the effects of the tranquilizer. They also attempted to manually expel creek water from her lungs by placing her on her chest and stomach and pressing on her sides.
Unfortunately, the moose had taken in too much water and died in the trailer.
"This is not the ending we wanted for this moose," said Toby Boudreau, regional wildlife manager for Fish and Game's Southeast Region. "Going into these situations, there is always the chance something can go wrong, but we have been able to successfully dart and move 10 other moose in southeast Idaho this year without major incident.
"Losing an animal is a tough part of this job. The upside is that the little bull recovered nicely, and releasing him to a more secluded quality habitat was no problem."
The young bull was released on national forest lands south of Pocatello.
"The moose hesitated for just a minute before exiting the trailer," said Jennifer Jackson, regional conservation educator for Fish and Game's Southeast Region who also helped with the release. "I half expected he would try to run, but he just slowly walked up the road where we were parked, stopping here and there to have a bite to eat. Eventually, he made his way through the thick brush and disappeared.
"It wasn't a perfect ending because of the loss of the female, but at the end of the day those involved with this effort can at least be happy that the other moose made it."