It’s been a rough winter in the American West, with heavy snowfalls that are causing trouble for even the hardiest locals.
Take, for example, the Idaho moose in the photo above. Like a lot of wildlife in the area, it probably meandered early Saturday into the town of Hailey in pursuit of food, according to the Blaine County Sheriff’s Office. It ended up tumbling down a window well and crashing into the carpeted basement of a house — which, to be fair, looked pretty cozy.
Sheriff’s deputies, police officers and Idaho Department of Fish and Game Senior Conservation Officer Alex Head were called to the scene at about 2:30 a.m. They tried to coax the animal up the stairs, but “the moose was having none of it, charging the officers several times,” Josh Royse, a Fish and Game regional conservation officer, wrote on the department’s website.
The authorities ended up sedating the female moose, who, fittingly, slipped into a more mellow state near a Bob Marley wall tapestry.
“With all hands on deck, the sleeping giant was carried up the stairs and out the front door,” he wrote. “It woke up in the snow covered street, groggy and confused, but free.”
This moose, needless to say, lucked out. A colder and unusually intense winter is making life difficult for lots of wild animals in the West, according to the Associated Press, including five cougars in Central Oregon that state wildlife officials killed after the cats came into a town and dined on pets and chickens. In Idaho, officials are offering emergency rations to big game including elk.
The Hailey moose rescue was not the first time Head came to the aid of an ungulate in a rec room. Just last winter, another homeowner outside Hailey was awoken at about the same time of night by the sound of a large mammal crashing through a basement bedroom window, according to Idaho Fish and Game. In that case, it was a female elk.
Head and other officers herded the elk around the pool table and sectional for more than two hours before the animal headed up the stairs and back into the cold outdoors.
“The basement will need a good, deep cleaning, but we are glad it worked out as well as it did,” Head said at the time.