Compassion trumped a hunting instinct after a bull moose, which was found in distress on the Port au Port Peninsula last weekend, was rescued.

Several men from the Piccadilly area found the animal which had become wedged in a drainage ditch that was covered with snow, and was unable to get out.

Piccadilly moose January 2014

A group of men on the Port au Port Peninsula put a special effort into helping a distressed moose, who became stuck in deep snow in Piccadilly last weekend. (Courtesy Raymond Barter)

Raymond Barter said when they found the moose, they weren't sure he would make it out alive, and figured the animal had broken its legs.

"We thought he was pretty much gone ... but then he kept moving around, like lifting up on his head, and moving his legs, and then we got him pretty much up on his knees, like to hold him there for a little bit, and he was there moving his head around, and then all of a sudden, after I'd say about a half hour or so, he stayed up on his own," said Barter. 

Barter said it took about two hours, with an ATV and eventually the muscle of a winch, to carefully extract the moose from the drain. He estimated the bull was between 500 to 600 pounds, (230 to 270 kgs

The men also helped nurse the animal back to health by covering it with a blanket to keep it warm, and feeding it leftover cooked vegetables from a neighbour's Sunday dinner.  

Piccadilly moose

Ray Barter and a group of men helped to rescue the bull moose, who had become wedged in a drainage ditch that was covered with snow. (Courtesy Raymond Barter)

"We put a bit of snow into the moose's mouth, we figured he was a bit thirsty, and left the plate of vegetables. The next morning the only food left was the carrots."

Wildlife officers were able to help the animal return to the woods.