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Timmins area prospectors rescue moose stuck in mud

'The ditch must have been seven, eight feet deep because there was no body at all — just a head and that’s it'

TIMMINS - A Timmins moose is back on the loose thanks to a group of seasoned prospectors. 

Last week, Moe Vallier was one of three people to save a moose from a deep, muddy ditch.

It happened about three to four miles down Highway 655 and about two miles into the bush, he said. 

“An old prospector friend of ours was taking soil samples down that road and he came across the moose and he spent an hour or so trying to get him out by throwing dead trees and branches and everything, but the moose couldn’t lift his leg high enough to get out,” he said.

Vallier was one of the friends to receive the call to go help. They loaded up, cut a trail through the bush to get to the area, which he said was swampy and had a corduroy (log) road to get to it. On either side of the road are ditches to help keep the road from washing away, explained Vallier.

“The ditch must have been seven, eight feet deep because there was no body at all — just a head and that’s it. He was going under a few times so we tried to hurry up as much as we could before he drowned,” he said.

To haul the moose out, they used a couple of nylon slings that are soft and wouldn't hurt the animal, and their Argo.

"I wanted to put one underneath his belly but there’s no way I could get in that hole, I would have sunk. So we ended up putting over his horns. The first time I did it he was fighting back a bit there, but the second time he knew we were helping him, he just let us do it,” he said.

The moose was burned out after slowly being pulled from the ditch, but was otherwise OK.

“He looked at us for about five minutes and then he decided to walk away,” he said.

Hermann Daxl was the one who stumbled on the stuck moose. It was the rare panting that alerted him to the situation.

"When I pursued that I thought I did not know that moose liked mud baths and almost went on to my work of sampling decayed vegetation by which one can find a mine in this remote bush. But then I realized that the banks of the four-metre wide puddle were all churned up as if he had tried to get out. So I tried to scare him out, and gestured him how to get out. He somehow simulated that but merely splashed me with mud," said Daxl.

"Then I threw in logs and branches whereby I punched my left hand and broke a right rear lower rib, which still hurts a lot. Meanwhile I had also called a friend, had hardly a signal on the cellphone, gave GPS and explained he could well get here with an Argo and a chainsaw, because I had to give up.

"I continued to look for a gold mine, but had to give that up too because of my rib. On my way back, the moose was gone and I saw the tracks of my rescuer friends. Lucky also because had I not had good results from my first sampling, I would not have gone, and also had I succeeded taking enough samples a week earlier I would not have gone. Surely nobody else would have gone there. And when my rib heals I have to go again. Will see what is there then."

The group suspects the moose got stuck earlier in the morning.

With about four decades of prospecting under his belt, this is the first time Vallier said he's pulled a live moose out of a hole.

When he gave the go-ahead for a friend to share the photos on Facebook he thought it would make someone smile. Now that the story has been out there for a couple of days, he's amazed at the attention the story is receiving. 


Maija Hoggett

About the Author: Maija Hoggett

Maija Hoggett is an experienced journalist who covers Timmins and area
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