Dr. Karen Sciascia of Red Hill, Pa., has delivered thousands of babies in her career. But on a vacation to Montana this week, she helped deliver another life from danger, as she and her fishing guide saved a baby moose that was separated from its mother as they crossed a river.
The water in question is the Big Hole River, a scenic spot in southwestern Montana known for its trout fishing. That’s where Sciascia and her guide, Seth McLean, were fishing when they spotted a cow moose and a calf that were having trouble navigating a spot on the river where two channels create a turbulent current.
Sciascia says that after struggling back and forth in the water, the cow moose bolted for the far river bank. When her calf tried to follow, it was swept downstream by the current. Realizing the danger the calf was in, Sciascia and McLean set off after it in their boat.
“We found it with its little nose just above the water,” Sciascia tells The Missoulian. “We got up alongside it and I just grabbed the little bugger. I scooped it up from the river under its front legs.”
Weighing about 25 pounds, the calf lay limp in Sciascia’s arms, she says, other than its cries that resembled the sounds a puppy might make. McLean rowed them upriver a bit, to the bank where the cow moose had landed.
“Quickly after pulling to shore they released the baby and Momma was soon there checking her calf over,” the company says, “once reunited and satisfied Momma led her calf into the woods.”
Calling the rescue a new twist on the “catch and release” policy many anglers follow, McLean’s employer, Four Rivers Fishing Co. in Twin Bridges, Mont., posted the story on its Facebook page Wednesday. It soon garnered more than 1,000 “likes.”
“Having delivered so many babies, it was like every other day to me, though it was a different modality,” Sciascia tells The Missoulian. “It was cool to be in the right place at the right time.”
Thanks to Emilie Ritter Saunders of StateImpact Idaho for sending the story our way.