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Trapped moose rescued from frozen pond by Fish and Game

By Meghan Pierce
Union Leader Correspondent

January 03. 2012 4:24PM
These photos, clockwise from top left, show the order of events. Photos courtesy Bob Hofstetter. 
WASHINGTON - A young moose who spent about 24 hours stuck on the slippery ice of Pillsbury State Park's Butterfield Pond was rescued Tuesday morning.

'They don't have any kind of traction on their hooves and their weight makes their legs slip out,' Washington Police Chief Steven Marshall said.

The department received several calls Monday and Tuesday about the moose; the animal was in plain view of Route 31.

'My biggest concern initially was not the animal itself, but good Samaritans going out on the ice to do something,' Marshall said.

Ice is never completely safe, and it was already holding a 500-pound moose, he said. Marshall called in town firefighters and New Hampshire Fish and Game to help.

Bob Hofstetter, fire department secretary, responded with firefighters and Conservation Officers Bill Boudreau and Eric Hannett and photographed the rescue.

'He could stand. Then he flopped right down again. It was very icy,' Hofstetter said of the moose. 'It was so tired it was fairly docile.'

The officers placed a sling attached to a rope around the moose and with help from firefighters, moved the animal about 75 yards to the shoreline.

'It just slid right across the ice,' Hofstetter said.

Marshall said: 'The physical rescue part was probably ten minutes or less.'

Once on solid ground, the moose was able to stand on its own and appeared uninjured. Marshall estimated the moose was 18 months to 2 years old. While officers referred to the animal as 'he' during the rescue, the gender of the animal was not confirmed during the operation.

'He was pretty exhausted. It took a while for him to catch his breath and get his energy,' Marshall said.

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