Nfld. & Labrador

Moose back on the loose after getting trapped by snow on west coast of Newfoundland

A group of snowmobilers from western Newfoundland taking advantage of some fresh powder over the holidays jumped into action on the weekend after finding a moose stuck in the freshly fallen snow.

Snowmobilers band together to shovel moose out after finding it stuck outside Gros Morne

The snowmobilers got to work quickly, trying to clear a path for the moose to walk out of the snow. (Submitted by Jonathan Anstey)

A group of snowmobilers from western Newfoundland taking advantage of some fresh powder over the holidays jumped into action on the weekend after finding a moose stuck in the freshly fallen snow.

About eight of them, some with GoPro cameras mounted on their vehicles, were exploring a trail north of Deer Lake and just outside Gros Morne National Park on Saturday when they spotted the moose's head peeking out of a mound of snow.

These snowmobilers dug out a moose stuck in fresh snowfall in western Newfoundland on Dec. 30. 0:31

"You could tell he was frantically trying to get out of the hole that he had himself in," said Jonathan Anstey, co-owner of the Sledcore snowmobiling riding clinic in western Newfoundland.

While others may have called park control, or driven away, Anstey said, his group felt comfortable stepping in and shovelling the moose out.

Given the moose was exhausted and stuck, the snowmobilers were confident, albeit cautious, when approaching to dig it out. (Submitted by Jonathan Anstey)

"It's an up to 1,000-pound animal and they can do quite some damage," he said. "But considering his back legs were down in the mud hole we knew he couldn't get out quickly and bust out to trample us."

After around 15 minutes of digging, the four-legged animal trotted to safety away from the trail. 

But that moose wasn't the only one Anstey and the other snowmobilers ran into that day.

"We did see several other moose that were having a hard time getting around in the deep snow," he said.

"If you see a moose, just stop and let them go on their own way and find their way off trail or wherever they need to go for safety."

Be respectful to wildlife on trails

Although his group felt comfortable taking the risk, Anstey said casual snowmobilers should still call the provincial government's Wildlife division if they encounter a moose stuck in the snow before attempting to remove it themselves.

Freeing a moose can be quite dangerous if you don't do so properly, he said.

This was all the snowmobilers could see of the moose stranded in the snow before they stopped to dig it out. (Submitted by Jonathan Anstey)

Anstey says when people are outdoors they should remember whose territory they're treading on.

"Through Sledcore, we try to teach all of our clients that this is the moose's house, so give them their space. We've got lots of room to play and go, so keep your distance," he said.

"Be respectful in the woods and give wildlife lots of space."

About the Author

Andrew Sampson is a journalist with CBC News in St. John's.