Trapped Moose rescued in Keystone

Eli Pace
Summit Daily

Firefighters are referring to an incident that began Saturday night in Keystone as Summit County’s own version of a cat stuck in a tree, though the outcome could have been much worse.

Trapped in a 5-foot-deep window well at a home in east Keystone, a young bull moose owes a debt of gratitude to the officers with Colorado Parks and Wildlife, a crew from Summit Fire & EMS and Keystone Resort employees, who all assisted in a successful rescue effort that concluded early Sunday morning with the moose returning to the woods. It was a bit traumatized perhaps, but appeared no worse for wear.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers had jurisdiction over the incident, was first on the scene and tranquilized the moose. The agency later requested the help of Summit Fire & EMS, whose firefighters set up a pulley system to haul up the moose, estimated to weigh between 800 and 1,000 pounds.

Altogether, the rescue effort didn’t wrap up until almost 2 a.m. Sunday, covering almost six hours and entailing about 30-35 people total, said Mike Porras, a Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokesman, who added that they found aid from workers at Keystone Resort, as well.

Once removed from the window well, the moose was awakened with a counteractive agent and “continued on his moose-like way,” said Steve Lipsher, of Summit Fire & EMS, who noted that local firefighters were on the scene for about two hours.

“We are an all-hazards response agency,” he said of the call. “We get everything. Our guys are resourceful, innovative and they come to every incident with the mindset, ‘We’ve got a problem here. How are we going to solve it?’”

More often than hoisting moose, he said, they use the ropes and pulleys to save people and pull wrecked vehicles from gullies and steep ravines.

No injuries were reported to either the moose or its rescuers, and the moose didn’t break the window in his struggles.

Imagining what could have happened had the animal come through the window and found himself inside someone’s home, both injured and frightened, Porras worried that the incident could have turned out much worse.

“We’re thankful none of that happened and that we were able to get it out successfully,” he said in extending a big thanks to Summit Fire & EMS and Keystone Resort for their help.

Porras said it’s uncommon for CPW to hear of moose falling through window wells, and he thinks Saturday night’s mishap might be a result of the moose trying to avoid deep snowdrifts by closely walking beside the home.

Still, thinking of wildlife and small children, Porras said homeowners everywhere might consider protecting their window wells.

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