Moose rescued after breaking through ice on Gunflint Trail lake

Jim Morrison (right) and Dave Seaton (left) work to get a young female moose out of the water after she fell through the ice on Hungry Jack Lake on the Gunflint Trail near Grand Marais, Minn., on Monday morning. (Photo by Bob McCloughan, Bearskin Lodge)

Some mid-trail residents were greeted by an unusual sight Monday morning. A young female moose was crossing Hungry Jack Lake, located midway up the Gunflint Trail and about 20 minutes from Grand Marais, Minn., when she fell through the ice.

(Photo by Bob McCloughan, Bearskin Lodge)

Forrest Parson, owner of Hungry Jack Lodge, was enjoying his morning coffee when he saw the moose go through the ice. Parson quickly called the local DNR and volunteer fire department for assistance and helped clear a path to the lake for the rescuers to get to the water.

Coming to the rescue were Jim Morrison, fire chief of the Gunflint Trail Volunteer Fire Department, Bob McCloughan of Bearskin Lodge, and Dave Seaton of Hungry Jack Outfitters. Seaton, who is no stranger to moose rescue, was one of the first on the scene. With canoe in tow, he and the others treaded carefully out to where the young cow had gone through.

“We had to try a few different angles” Seaton said.

And try they did. Using a tow strap and a little Northwoods ingenuity, within about an hour, they had pulled the moose out of the frigid water and onto more stable ice.

Dave Seaton of Hungry Jack Outfitters tries to calm down the moose after helping to pull her back onto the ice. (Photo by Jim Morrison)

“It took a while, a little encouragement, before she caught her breath and was able to walk herself to shore,” Seaton said.

When asked if it was common to see moose crossing the lake in winter – it’s still regarded as winter in far northern Minnesota – Seaton responded, “No. In the summer, we frequently see moose swimming across the lake, but it is much less common in winter. However, this moose has been living across the lake this year. We think she might have been chased by a local wolf pack this morning out onto the ice.”

— Visit Cook County report 

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