A north Spokane couple that’s expecting a baby got an early arrival Thursday evening when a moose calf dropped into a bedroom through a basement window.
Tony Mantese reported the moose-entry incident around 4:30 p.m. from his home on Stevens Street just north of Francis Avenue. The moose apparently had been taking advantage of the shallower snow around the neighborhood buildings when it fell into a deep window well. As is struggled to get out and rejoin its mother and sibling, it kicked through the window and fell into the house.
“I got the call around 6 p.m. that there was a moose in somebody’s basement,” said Woody Myers, a Washington Fish and Wildlife Department biologist trained to tranquilize big-game animals. “I said ‘You’re kidding’ and the officer quite sternly said, ‘No I’m not.’ ”
Myers, a 32-year veteran with the wildlife agency, is the region’s go-to-man for tranquilizing moose and other big game. He said this is a first.
“I’ve had episodes that appeared on Animal Planet, including the moose we darted at Five Mile Shopping Center that tried to run up over a fence, but fell back and plopped — and stayed— on the top of a car as the drug took full effect.”
In this case, the moose was confined to the bedroom and took its medicine quietly.
“It just flinched (when the dart was shot into its rump) and walked around for a few minutes before lying down,” Myers said. “It went very smoothly.
“Five of us used a tarp to take the calf up a narrow stairway. It weighs about 375 pounds, but there wasn’t really room there for a 375-pound moose and four men, so we just had to heave-and-ho a foot at a time.
“Then we had to take it through the kitchen and load it into a pickup.”
The work wasn’t over after the moose was trucked away.
“There was quite a mess in the bedroom,” Myers said, noting that the moose had relieved itself liberally. “I felt sorry for the family. They had done a nice job of finishing the room.”
The calf was taken to veterinarian Luther McConnell’s wildlife rehabilitation quarters off the Newport Highway and kept overnight.
“I didn’t think it would survive in these winter conditions if we just took it out and released it that night,” Myers said.
This morning, agency officers tracked down and tranquilized the free-roaming mother and sibling, reunited them with the break-in calf and trucked them out near Mount Spokane for release.
A moose breaking into a basement bedroom was just the latest among the region’s weird wildlife encounter related to recent winter conditions.
•On Tuesday, six wild elk perished after they had taken refuge from deep snow and a storm under an old hay storage barn that collapsed under the weight of snow.
•A moose that fell through the ice at Priest Lake was rescued by a group of residents sliding boats onto the ice, dropping a rope around its neck and hauling it out. Deer have been reported breaking through the ice at Lake Coeur d’Alene.
•The number of moose, deer and elk being killed in collisions on railways and roads appears to be soaring, area wildlife biologists say.
“Tough winters will force wildlife into places where we don’t normally seem them,” said Chip Corsi, Idaho Fish and Game Department Panhandle Region manager.