The internet is full of stories of men and women who have risked their lives to come to the aid of animals in the wild. Even though some of these creatures could potentially attack us under different circumstances, the natural instinct to flee is put on pause when someone’s life is on the line. It isn’t hard to show compassion, especially if you’re not in any apparent danger. Two unsuspecting fishermen discovered this one day in 2015. Not the type to shun an animal in need, they were taken by surprise during a casual fishing trip in May that took a turn for the worse. It was all because of one weird sound they heard out on the water that they wouldn’t forget for a long time.
Day on the water
It’s incredible the unexpected things you can discover when you’re out on the water. On May 17, 2015, two men decided to spend some time doing one of their favorite hobbies – fishing – but they weren’t prepared for what they came across. Given the location and the time of year, the men had expected to find walleye, whitefish and smallmouth bass on their excursion. The cold waters of Canada are ideal for these species, and the duo was sure to come back with a mighty haul after their day in the sun. However, it looks like these men bit off more than they could chew when they ventured out that Sunday morning.
The men were fishing on a lake close to Field in Ontario. The Canadian province is a favored place for people looking to catch some fish, because it offers some of the most diverse spots to visit. Lake Scugog, Erie and St. Clair are all renowned for the aquatic life swimming around in the water and make for the perfect day trip alone or with friends. Topped with the fact that Ontario has some of the best scenery in the country, you can’t go wrong with a day of fishing here. That’s what these two men thought when they cast their lines that Sunday morning. Little did they know the events that would unfold.
At first, everything was perfectly normal. They were enjoying their time out on the water, but the peace was disturbed by a horrific shriek from somewhere nearby. The men had no idea what it was or who it belonged to, but they immediately sensed danger. Not for them, though, but for something else. The shriek didn’t sound like a call to attack, but rather a distress signal. Eager to know what was going on, the men pinpointed the location of the wailing and steered themselves towards it.
The closer they got to shore, the clearer everything became. The sight broke their hearts. Over by the water’s edge was a baby moose struggling to stay afloat. The young animal wasn’t only struggling with the water, but also its temperature. Canadian lakes aren’t known for being warm, and the cold conditions of the water were proving to be too much for the calf. The men knew immediately that they had to help out, but before they could intervene, something stopped them in their tracks.
The young moose wasn’t by itself. Its mother was there on the shore, and she wasn’t happy. Not only was her young in peril, but now it appeared these two men were here to cause problems. There was nothing that the mother could do to save her calf, and it was making her frustrated. That anger was directed towards the two fishermen who only wanted to lend a hand. If she thought they were there to hurt her child, she was going to do everything to stop them.
As the men moved closer to the shore, the moose charged towards them. With a stretch of water still between them, there was nothing she could do to actually hurt them. However, it was a sign that they wouldn’t be able to dock on the shore and help out. The mother was only being protective, but it was a case of her getting her wires crossed. She had no reason to assume they were there to help, especially given how many people hunt the animal. What could they do?
Packing a punch
Moose, in general, aren’t aggressive creatures. They don’t usually attack out of the blue, but it’s best to steer clear of them. An adult female can weigh up to 800 lbs, while males can be as heavy as 1500 lbs. Being on the receiving end of a charging moose will almost always result in a fatality. It’s when the young are around that a female is likely to be at her most protective, which means a higher likelihood of her attacking humans. It’s no wonder this moose was so defensive.
Between a rock and a hard place
The fishermen were at a loss for what to do. If they didn’t intervene, the calf would almost definitely drown, but the mother would not let them help. Her aggression was evident, and it was only going to grow worse if they tried to help. Was it worth risking their own lives to save that of another? Both men were animal lovers and couldn’t imagine just leaving the creature to die, but did they have any other choice? After some careful thought, they made a big decision.
Turning their backs
With heavy hearts, the two men turned their boat around and left the moose alone. In the aftermath, one of the fishermen said that it was “best to let nature take its course,” as they hoped that the mother would find a way to aid her calf. Turning their backs on the struggling animal was not something either man did proudly, but they didn’t see how they could help without having their actions misconstrued by the mother. As they returned to their fishing spot, they prayed for a good outcome.
The men started fishing again, trying to recapture the excitement they’d had earlier that morning. However, the whole time their thoughts were on the young moose and whether it was doing okay. The image of the calf struggling was haunting them, and as they sat there trying to catch fish, they knew they’d made a mistake. Deep down, they were aware the mother wouldn’t be able to get her child out of the water. Despite turning their backs on the animal, they knew they had to do something to help.
For the second time that day, the men turned their boat around and sailed back to the shore where they’d last spotted calf. As they traveled the short distance, they thought about how best to get the moose out of the water. They didn’t have much on them besides some essential fishing gear that could potentially come in use if need be. The men tried their best not to worry about whether their efforts would be successful, and instead focus on doing the right thing.
However, as their boat neared the shore once again, the duo was caught off guard. The calf was still in the same spot scrambling to get out of the water, but its mother was nowhere to be seen. The fisherman hadn’t even considered that the moose would abandon her child in the water to die, but that appeared to be the case. A great responsibility fell on the pair’s shoulders as they knew the calf would only survive if they intervened. Time was ticking down fast – they had to act.
On its last legs
The calf had put up a fight for a long time now, but it only had so much energy left in its body. The fishermen could see that the animal was growing weak and was on the verge of giving up. They panicked when they saw the calf starting to blow bubbles from its nose, a sign that if they didn’t move straight away, it would disappear into a watery grave. The only question now was how they could do this without hurting the terrified moose.
Fearing for its life
Despite being exhausted, the moose still tried to get away as the fishermen’s boat approached it. Like its mother, the calf had no idea that the men were only there to help, not cause it harm. If the animal hadn’t spent so long in the water, it might have had the strength to get away from the pair. However, with its energy reserves dangerously low, it could do nothing to fight back as the boat came closer, and the men advanced on the animal.
It was fortunate for the fishermen that the calf was so tired because it made it easier for them to rescue the animal. One of them reached down and picked the moose up in his arms. Although it was only a calf, the creature was still pretty sizable, and also capable of biting its rescuer. The man didn’t care, though. Having already turned his back on the animal once that day, he wasn’t going to stop until the creature was back on land safe and sound.
One final struggle
With the tiny bit of energy that the calf had left, it tried to put up a fight against its rescuers. Already terrified that it was going to drown, the animal feared it was about to meet an equally worse fate at the hands of these strangers. Luckily, the fisherman was strong enough to keep control of the moose as he pulled it out of the water and onto the boat. Now that they’d pulled the calf to safety, there was the question of what to do next.
The whole time that the men had worked to rescue the calf from the water, its mother had failed to reappear on the shore. Although the fishermen didn’t particularly want to cross paths with the protective beast, they also knew that the young animal desperately needed its mother. Its turmoil in the water had left it weak and scared, and they were afraid to leave the calf by itself. However, something had to be done. They couldn’t just take the moose home with them.
As they tried to think up the best plan of action, the two fishermen did what they could to make the calf feel more comfortable. This included talking to and petting the animal to show that they didn’t mean it any harm. Luckily, their kind treatment seemed to have an impact on the young moose who slowly felt more at ease in the company of these two strangers. Once the animal had finally calmed down, the fisherman realized there was only one option available to them.
Despite their best wishes, the men knew they had no choice but to send the moose back to the woods in the hope that it would find its mother. For all they knew, the calf would know where to she was located and reunite with her quickly. However, they’d never know for sure if the animal would find its way home, or just end up in more danger. Unfortunately, they couldn’t be by the animal’s side forever and had to trust that things would work out for the best.
The men went home that day with a very eventful story to share with their friends and family. They never did find out whether the calf reunited with its mother or not, but they can rest easy knowing that they did the right thing. Although they’d panicked earlier on in the day when the older moose put up a fight, they’d put the life of an animal above all else and managed to save it from certain death. It’s always nice to see people helping animals rather than hurting them.